Monday, April 26, 2010

8 things I wish everyone knew about email by Seth Godin

1. Change your settings so that email from you has a name, your name, not a blank or some unusual characters, in the from field. (ask a geek or IT person for help if you don't know how).
2. Change your settings so that the bottom of every email includes a signature (often called a sig) that includes your name and your organization.
3. Change your settings so that when you reply to a note, the note you're replying to is included below what you write (this is called quoting).
4. Don't hit reply all. Just don't. Okay, you can, but read this first.
5. You can't recall an email you didn't mean to send. Some software makes you think you can, but you can't. Not reliably.
6. Email lives forever, is easy to spread and can easily show up in discovery for a lawsuit.
7. Please don't ask me to save a tree by not printing your email. It doesn't work, it just annoys the trees.
8. Send yourself some email at a friend's computer. Read it. Are the fonts too big or too small? Does it look like a standard email? If it doesn't look like a standard, does this deviation help you or hurt you? Sometimes, fitting in makes sense, no?
And a bonus tip from Cory Doctorow, who gets more email than you and me combined: When you go on vacation, set up an autoreply that says, "I'm on vacation until x/x/2010. When I get back, I'm going to delete all the email that arrived while I was gone, so if this note is important, please send it to me again after that date."

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Our Public Library Lifeline is Fraying.........

This is long for a blog post - but the article is so good I wanted to post it in its entirety.

Our Public Library Lifeline Is Fraying. We'll Be Sorry When it Snaps
by Art Brodsky, Communications Director, Public Knowledge
Posted: April 11, 2010
This is National Library Week, a time normally reserved for celebrating an institution that plays a vital role in many of our cities, towns and counties. Instead, many libraries, particularly public libraries, are being decimated by budget cuts at a time when library services are needed most.

Libraries, once considered a necessity, are now seen as a luxury. They are low-hanging fruit for budget pluckers, particularly at the state and local levels of government in communities across the country. It's been a slow death by attrition over the past couple of years. First, it was the budget for books and materials because, after all, books and materials aren't people. No matter that books and materials are what makes a library, well, a library. Then came the hours of operation, then the staff, then the closure of branches. No two communities are approaching the situation identically, but in cities from Boston to Indianapolis, the stories are increasingly dire.
In Boston, the trustees voted to close four branches. There was lots of protest, and Mayor Thomas Menino still has to make the final call, but the situation doesn't look good.
The Florida legislature is considering eliminating state aid to libraries entirely, while the New Jersey legislature is only looking a at a 74 percent cut. Indianapolis and surrounding Marion County are also looking at closing six branches and cutting back programs and staff.

In my home community of Montgomery County, Maryland, formerly one of the wealthiest local jurisdictions, the County Council is looking at a budget for fiscal year 2011 of $29 million - down from $40 million just three years ago. This year, it is slated for a 23 percent cut - one of the largest of any agency, on top of cuts in the last fiscal year with percentage decreases larger than all but one county agency. And this is for a county of about one million residents in which 70 percent hold library cards. It's even worse across the river, in Fairfax County, Virgina, where libraries were declared a "discretionary" service while cutting 30 of 54 full-time librarians. Libraries discretionary? That's nuts.
These are only some of the stories. They are being repeated endlessly across the country, perhaps even where you live. Some places put a high value on their libraries. Contrast the $29 million of my county for the $51 million library budget in Seattle, a city of about 600,000. Sure, Seattle needed to cut the library budget, but the fact that they started out much higher than my home says something about their priorities. Sadly, Seattle is the exception, not the rule.

One problem for libraries in some jurisdictions is that they don't fit squarely into any one policymaker's domain, like public safety or a school system. Libraries serve a range of purposes - they help teach children to read, they help students work on projects, they provide meeting space for tutoring, they provide Internet access. They serve students, seniors, immigrants. They provide assistance to the unemployed. Libraries combine education, workforce development, socialization, recreation. But they aren't the school board, or a social services agency, and so generally get buried in the larger budgets.

The cuts come at a time when library use is increasing, for all types of services. The one that hits home the most these days is the crucial access to the Internet. A study by the Information School at the University of Washington found that: "Low-income adults are more likely to rely on the public library as their sole access to computers and the Internet than any other income group. Overall, 44 percent of people living below the federal poverty line used computers and the Internet at their public libraries."
In addition, the study reported: "Americans across all age groups reported they used library computers and Internet access. Teenagers are the most active users. Half of the nation's 14- to 18-year-olds reported that they used a library computer during the past year, typically to do school homework."
Ask any librarian, or read any of the stories about the budget cuts, and one message that stands out loud and clear is that the Internet at libraries is a lifeline for many. Here the unemployed look for jobs, and apply for jobs - many companies these days accept applications online only. Here people learn what many would consider rudimentary skills - how to attach a document to an email, for example. Is this what a library is supposed to do? Yes. The Internet has become an integral part of the library mission.

Internet support for libraries is national policy, going back to the 1996 Telecommunications Act and the amendment from current Senators Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Jay Rockefeller (D-WVA) as well as former Nebraska senators, the late James Exon and Robert Kerrey. Today, Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) is trying to update the policy for the 21st century.

But it would be a mistake to say that the Internet replaces libraries. It doesn't. It's an adjunct. More than one budget officer has said that people don't need libraries because they can go online. First, many people can't go online due to their economic circumstances. Second, librarians help to guide research. A simple online search will not always achieve desired results, as anyone who does this well knows. And libraries still have those quaint old things called books, many of which aren't online. The printed medium still has a lot of attraction for many, from the youngest readers whose parents check out armloads of picture books, to the serious readers and researchers who realize there is more to find than what's online.
It would also be a mistake to say that bookstores replace libraries. Nothing against bookstores, but they aren't a public resource. Quite obviously, who have to pay to enjoy the fruits of a bookstore. Libraries are there for everyone.
Politicians are loathe to raise money to pay for libraries. That's the kiss of death to an aroused citizenry that wants services but doesn't want to pay for them or, in some cases doesn't value them at all. Still, it's nice that around the country, people are protesting the cuts to their local libraries. In some cases, library lovers have formed foundations or other organizations to supplement their libraries. These are to be lauded, and supported, but they aren't a substitute for the public commitment that led to public libraries in the first place.
Let's give the last word to someone who has a secret ambition to be a librarian, but whose career went in a different direction. No less an authority than Keith Richards put it best in his forthcoming autobiography: "When you are growing up there are two institutional places that affect you most powerfully: the church, which belongs to God, and the public library, which belongs to you. The public library is a great equaliser."

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Dulcinea Media - a significant find at the TLA Conference!

A significant highlight of my experiences at this year's TLA Conference was meeting Mark Moran, President & CEO of Dulcinea Media, and seeing the online products his company provides without fee. Check out any or all of the following and see if you're not impressed: & - Be sure to review the index at the bottom of each page!

According to their website, their mission is "to bring users the best information on the Web for any topic, employing human insight and methodical review." Information at, shows that they employee a team with appropriate expertise to tackle the challenge of meeting that mission.

For more information, read "8 Ways that Public Librarians Can Use Dulcinea Media to Serve Patrons" at http://blog, and "8 Ways a Week: Using Dulcinea Media in the Classroom" at

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Hmmmm..Makes one think.........

As a follow-up to last night's Find a Job in Federal Libraries chat (please see the Wimba classroom off the SLIS Village homepage for the archive and the Career forum in the Village for the panelists' notes), please consider joining the Careers in Federal Libraries Google Group. The group's founder, Nancy Faget (also one of last night's panelists) describes the group below:

Students and job seekers may be interested in federal librarianship as a career choice because:
1. The average annual salary of a federal librarian is approximately $84,000
2. There are school, academic, medical, law, public, and special libraries in federal government
3. The Feds are hiring, even in this tough job market
An online group was set up to allow those interested in this career choice to continue the conversation with federal librarians. Educational presentations, resume reviews, and mentors are available on the Careers in Federal Libraries Google group. You may want to join and receive job announcements and career advice from federal librarians in ALA and SLA.

How Libraries Stack Up

Mentioned before (I think) but worth repeating..........

How Libraries Stack Up: 2010
This new report examines the economic, social and cultural impact of libraries in the United States. As the current economic environment is impacting library budgets and library usage is increasing, particular attention is paid to the role that libraries play in providing assistance to job-seekers and support for small businesses. Information includes statistics on:

•Americans receiving job-seeking help and career assistance at public libraries
•Libraries as a resource for small businesses
•The prevalence and scope of library activity in the United States
•Libraries as providers of free services to the community such as Wi-Fi access, technology training and meeting rooms
•Comparisons of library activities to various retail and entertainment businesses

Recently updated at

New things to see at

  • Were you at the System Assembly in Denton last January? Visit the photos page and see our photographs. Look for 'photos' under the Resources menu.

  • Our Librarian Live partners post new podcasts several times a month. Meet Kim Doner, the artist for the 2010 Texas Reading Club and learn about a wireless network device and a free web content filter that might be useful in your library. Recent Librarian Live podcasts are listed in the box on the right-hand-side of our web page. Click 'all podcasts' to get to the archive of the entire podcast series.

  • TWDL - Texas Workskills Development in Libraries - is the program we developed through the SYNG grant to provide resource for libraries to help job seekers. See for more information, or go straight to the TWDL website at

  • We're gearing up for this summer's Close the Book on Hunger campaign, to fight hunger and illiteracy in North Texas. See the project website at .

  • A few of our libraries recently sent us updates on their websites and automation systems. Do we have correct information about your library? Look for 'Library Websites and OPACS' and ‘Automation Systems’ under the Members menu.

  • The scrolling box on the left side of our website has links to the the latest items in the NTRLS Blog , Adam Wright's blog Notes of a Binge Thinker, and the Libraries for Literacy website. Check these blogs often so you won't miss anything.

  • Our Sample Library Policies page now includes a sample policy for Social Software, thanks to Denton Public Library. Look for "Policies-Examples" under the "Resources" menu.

  • At the March regional meetings, we received some questions about the differences between regional meetings and system assemblies. The Meeting Details page now has a brief description of these two kinds of meetings. Click 'Meeting Details' from the main Meetings Portal page,

  • The dates for the next five regional conferences are on a handy flyer you can get to from our home page. The dates are also posted on the SIGS page - look for 'SIGS and Regional Conferences' under the Continuing Education menu. Or check each conference's website: (for LP3), (for CYC), (for the Supporters Conference) and (for TechNet). These links are all on our home page at the bottom right.

  • Remember to check the CE Portal often for upcoming workshops and conferences. Registration is now open for the TechNet conference in May, as well as workshops on Accessibility, Budgeting, Long Range Planning, and more!

Thanks for visiting North Texas Library Partners at !

Monday, April 05, 2010


>From a report commissioned by the James Irvine Foundation called, Convergence:
How Five Trends Will Reshape the Social Sector

Options for volunteering are increasing along with the development of new technologies and online platforms for connecting interested individuals with causes, actions and communities of like-minded activists. Virtual volunteering, where tasks are undertaken at least partly online, is increasing in popularity, allowing individuals to find opportunities that are personally meaningful and a good fit for their skills, regardless of geography.

The even newer concept of micro-volunteering — where volunteers help out in small, convenient ways that do not require a long-term commitment to an organization or cause — is also growing. The economic downturn is likely to bolster this trend, as online engagement offers an opportunity to give back in one’s spare time, while reducing transportation costs and travel time.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

A Book Free Future - we keep hearing this!

Librarians envision a book-free future

PORTLAND, Ore., April 1, 2010 (NW Newswire) -- Librarians in your town or city will soon be arguing for the elimination of books from your public library. In response to a call for action issued at a major librarians' conference in this city on Wednesday of last week, over 750 leaders in the field met in the Grand Portland Ballroom of the Oregon Convention Center to found a new advocacy group, the Redeployment of Library Resources for Renewal Round Table, or RDLRRRT, which will be affiliated with a major professional organization.

"As the interest in, and need for, literacy declines in the era of networked information sharing, public libraries must realign their priorities to better match the interests of their communities," said Lucia Ashton, a Seattle-area public library administrator tapped as first chair of RDLRRRT. "Thousands of shelves of books idly occupy millions of square feet of library space across the country, space that can be repurposed for greatly expanded public computing, coffee service, gaming, and suites of study and meeting rooms."

"Today's library patrons want what I call the Three C's -- computers, coffee, and community," noted Edgar Ravenswood, RDLRRRT member and public-relations coordinator. "The Three C's require space -- space now inefficiently occupied by books, few of which circulate at levels high enough to justify their continued existence," he asserted. "The cost/benefit analysis simply no longer supports books, whereas the Three C's show large, measurable social benefits for the space expended on them."

RDLRRRT member-at-large Art Bucklaw concurs. "At my library, entire mornings can transpire with not a single member of the public seen in some ranges of the bookstacks. Imagine that space devoted to computers, gaming, or conferencing, or simply to a good cup of coffee! We do our taxpayers no service by tying up expensive square footage with a medium no one uses or cares about," he observed. "Even Steve Jobs said 'people don't read anymore.' "

Ashton emphasized that there are now excellent alternative channels -- reading devices such as Kindle, Nook, and iPad, and inexpensive book lending services such as BookSwim -- available to the relatively few, representing an older and declining demographic, who still indulge in longform reading. "They can get more of what they want faster and cheaper through those channels, frankly, than through the public library," she remarked. "The public library has never been 'free.' Tax money is involved. Why not deploy that resource in the way our customers clearly want? Reading is moving in the direction of Twitter-size bites, and 'information' is whatever our users want it to be. These are just the kinds of activities we can support and promote with our computers, wifi, space, and tech savvy."

RDLRRRT's initial goal is the launching of several EPLOTs -- Experimental Prototype Libraries of Tomorrow -- around the United States. "We want to get a few libraries interested in the concept of completely clearing their facilities of books," Ashton stated. "RDLRRRT will assist the libraries in using the federal grants process to obtain funding for computers, wifi, game consoles, and coffee bars to fill the space once wasted on books."

"We are confident that the EPLOTs will see usage levels never before encountered in library service," Ravenswood asserted. "The EPLOTs will stand as proof-of-concept projects, and will serve notice as to just how relevant and -- may I say it? -- hip public libraries can be. Once they are book-free, the sky will be the limit."

I find this article interesting - while I agree people are reading less and listening more - MAYBE - the bookstores are awfully full when I go in with people reading and buying books - and many look under the age of 40 and quite trendy..............We certainly have more reference books than are necessary, and I firmly believe in weeding materials, "if in doubt, throw it out!" libraries as a generalization are not responsive to community needs - and some - not just ancient people - want books.......

Telecommuting by the Numbers#

Telecommuting by the Numbers#: "Telecommuting by the Numbers
What the U.S. could save if more people worked from home
By Max Chafkin | Apr 1, 2010"

Great article about the impact if people starting working from home..........I like the idea of telecommuting but also feel a bit of dread as it seems everything is moving to non-people contact - stay in your home - work, IM, watch youtube, and keep the DVR going.......

I really like this fact though - as someone who oftens gets caught in traffic........100 hours per person not spent commuting