01 October 2013

What I Was Doing All Summer

I would love to say that I was on summer vacation, and that is why there were no posts from me between July and now, but HA! I work in a library and do adult programming and summer reading and what is this "vacation" thing?

However, I did get out of the library a bit. I spent a week of August at Ferry Beach again, in Saco, Maine. For the last four years I have attended In The Company of Women, a women's conference held there every summer. Last year and this year I was a conference coordinator, and this year I was a solo leader - not that I was alone. There were some terrific workshop leaders, and the ladies who attend are always willing to pitch in, but it definitely took a lot of time and energy through the year leading up to it. With some things on the horizon this winter I knew that I would not be heading back next year. I am fortunate to have been able to leave the conference in some wonderful hands.

Back at the library, summer reading went off quite well. This was my second summer doing the adult program, and I know that the biggest draw is the ending get-together, so I kept things light with a couple of crafts and some speakers. Our youth program is hopping during the summer and the staff is always on the go. It makes me very happy to do programming for adults!

I started making contact with the schools in June, so when I saw that the middle and high schools were doing their open houses at the end of September, I immediately got in touch with them. We were able to set up a table at both schools (the elementary schools do their open houses in October) and we talked about library cards, Teen Reads Week, ebooks, and more!

However, what I just finished last week was the big baby through the summer. The Board approved our new Strategic Plan, our first one in many years. I am thrilled to have had such an active committee from so many areas of the community, and their hard work paid off. This has been sent off to the State Board of Library Commissioners, and next year we will be able to pursue some LSTA grants!

Not that this means I get to sit back and read now. I have a fundraiser mailing to get together for our newest project: a mobile laptop lab. Plus a lighting installation to complete, fall programming to set up, new wireless access points to be installed, and always so much more. I have been the director at this library for eighteen months now, and sometimes I feel like I have so much to do! Which is true, I do. I just need to remember everything I have accomplished too.

28 September 2013

Programming Unconference Northeast

Friday I drove down to Darien, CT, heading for Darien Library and the Programming Unconference Northeast. This unconference brought together a lot of librarians from several states (CT, MA, NY, NJ, and RI were all represented) to discuss topics that we submitted at the time of registration.

The wonderful Erin Shea!

Our program was kicked off by opening words by one of the co-facilitators, Erin Shea, who I was lucky to finally meet in person at ALA this summer. I find her programming at Darien to always be inspiring, so I wasn't surprised she brought this idea to her library.

Andy Woodworth

Lisa Carlucci Thomas

Our other co-facilitator was Andy Woodworth, who was another Twitter colleague I got to meet finally. He also introduced our keynote, given by Lisa Carlucci Thomas. Moving from academic libraries to her own consulting business, Design Think Do, Lisa gave an inspiring talk about programming in libraries needing three building blocks: Creativity, Community, Content.

I tweeted some of what I thought were key points through her talk (check out Twitter hashtag #pun13), but one thing I put up on Twitter seemed to catch the eye of a lot of people.

This statement actually came from Josh Linkner, who presented at The Risk & Reward Conference (R Squared Conference). It's available online, so I am really intrigued to see the rest of his presentation. Knowing that youth have a self-perception about not being creative as they get older, it takes gatherings like this, networking, and all the other librarian peeps out in social media land to remember that we are doing good things.

So many good ones to choose from!

After voting for the top eight discussion topics, then came the decision of which two was I going to attend? That would be the worse part of this conference - I could not attend them all! I decided I wanted to see what other librarians were doing to "Collaborate with Community Organizations." With about fifteen of us in a room built for six, we still had wonderful discussion about programs with outside collaboration, how do we get groups interested in working with us, what kinds of things we are working on. From oral histories to seed libraries to microwave cooking class (no burners or open flame!), libraries are doing things that engage the community and the organizations that are within those communities.

Then I went to "Makerspaces with No Space or Budget", which I admit was a topic I sent in (along with, I am sure, many other librarians). I have a small library, open floor plan with no community room. Yet, the idea of makerspaces is something that sets off the buzzers in my head, and I was hoping that others were creating them, using them, and willing to share their ideas. What was interesting was that some really didn't have any idea on what makerspaces were. So, is this one of those "jargon" words that many do not understand, even within our own culture? Or, as we began to discover, makerspaces can be outlets of creativity that do not need their own room, as some libraries have resorted to "flex walls", like are used by schools for portable space classrooms. You can put them up and take them down, adjusting the space to the people who are there. Makerspaces are more than just technology: button makers, embroidery and sewing machines, portable Lego and duct tape makerspaces (shout out to Karen at Teen Librarian Toolbox for sharing this info with me!). Got a big weeding project? Use those old hardcovers, VHS and books on cassette for recycled art!

We gathered back after lunch to share what went on in the different sessions. I wish they could have been recorded, however hopefully the note takers in each room gets their notes over to Erin, who will be making them available to all who went.

I love how they do staff picks.

Patron Picks!

The TEA Room: 3D printer, music, a tracing board, Ellison Die cut and more!

Part of their Teen Room. 
Along with all of this I still had to take a walk around the library. Besides being happily envious of the space, the aesthetics, the rooms! I enjoyed seeing how the Darien staff do passive programming through displays, through their newly opened TEA (Technology, Engineering, Art) Room for kids, and just how available their collections and staff really are. It is a wonderful library.

My final thoughts: Creativity, Community, Content. These building blocks that Lisa shared in her keynote are truly key points to creating programs. As few resources as I think I have to do programs with, I realize that my library has already done a lot. With our new strategic plan, and the community survey that accompanied it, I can learn what else people are looking for. I have staff that are passionate about the things they do, and I can tap into so much inside and outside of the library.

I thought back to this August, during the women's conference I was leading, and attending a session about finding your personal inspiration and aspirations. We needed to cultivate an affirmation, a mission statement, if you will, for our own Self. Driving home I remembered what mine was: "I Celebrate My Creativity."

I just need to remember that.

09 July 2013

ALA Part Two: Presentation Day - All About ARCs

Saturday. Saturday was filled with people and places and not enough food - but it was also filled with my presentations!

My first presentation was "All About ARCs: The Ins and Outs of Using and Abusing Advance Reader Copies." I have always held a fondness for them, and when ARCgate hit last year (I am not even getting into it now, it's over and done and was covered by some much better than I), I believed that this could be a good topic for ALA. So did my co-presenters, Kelly Jensen and Liz Burns, along with Jennifer Childs from Random House and Victoria Stapleton from Little, Brown. These women all have their own uses for and perspectives on ARCs and galleys, and it was great to listen to them speak on this subject. I just wish that we had not been competing against some other great programs, because I think the conversations that came out of this program, not just from the presenters but from those that attended, were important to hear.

Kelly complied all of the statistics into an amazing set of graphs based on two surveys that we conducted earlier this year, and placed them into Prezi. Unfortunately these were not shared during our program as we drew the ire of the technology gods who decided we didn't need an internet connection -- at least not on the presentation computer. All the other devices worked just fine. However, Kelly put up a great review of what we learned during our surveys on Stacked.

My section was about digital galleys and ARCs and their growing use and importance. I joined both NetGalley and Edelweiss as they grew in popularity. As the adult fiction selector for my library and a reviewer for Library Journal e-original romances, I am a big user of digital galleys. Both of our publisher reps confirmed that print galleys, while still a major part of the publishing process, are being produced less and digital galleys are bring increased. With the lower cost point for distribution, and the DRM (digital rights management) included in most, giving an average 60 day window for reading, there is certainly a lot less paper out in the world. I have to admit, sometimes 60 days isn't enough time. You forget, you get caught up with all the other things you have to do in your life, and then all of a sudden, the title you wanted to read is gone. However, in most cases (in my own experience, mileage may vary) I find this window more than enough.

I spoke of NetGalley and Edelweiss, which are the two most well-known places to get digital galleys. If you read on a tablet or ereader and do not have accounts with these two places, get thee to the nearest computer and sign up! NetGalley was designed for "professional readers" -- librarians, bloggers, booksellers, teachers, etc. Edelweiss was developed as a digital catalog repository for publishers and booksellers, but having access to these catalogs can definitely enhance collection development for librarians. You can request digital galleys from the publishers, and it is very important that you include a complete profile! Publishers (as emphasized by Jen and Victoria) definitely take a look at those, and even if you do not have the time to write up reviews (which both NetGalley and Edelweiss allow you to do, which in turn are sent through to the publishers) if you explain how and why you use ARCs (collection development, reader's advisory) then you have a better chance of having your requests approved.

I also touched on two new projects: Penguin's First to Read, which is their early e-ARC access to new titles. This one is being promoted to all readers, not just librarians and bloggers. With its emphasis on using Facebook for logging in (you can also create an account with an email address) and ways to acquire points for more benefits, it gives more of a gaming aura to acquiring digital galleys. I will be interested to see the success of this project.

The other one is LibraryReads, which was announced at ALA Annual. LibraryReads is a new recommendation program that will highlight public librarians’ favorite new books and will launch in Fall 2013. This program is open to all public library staff, will serve as a kind of national “library staff picks,” and will list the ten adult titles each month that staff have read, loved, and cannot wait to share with their patrons.

You can find a lot more information at the LibraryReads website, follow us (I am part of the social media group) on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, and Pinterest!

This was just my morning presentation, wait until you hear about the afternoon!

08 July 2013

ALA Part One: The Peripherals

There is no possible way for me to write about ALA Annual in Chicago in one blog post. Actually, I probably could, but the tome would weigh on the internet heavily, so I think a few posts about the big things that stuck with me would be best.

Did I mention this was my first ALA Conference? And that I was a presenter? Not once but twice? When I do things, I tend to dive right in!

I did take a little leisure time ahead of ALA. I flew into Chicago the Monday before and drove to Indiana to visit a dear friend, which is always wonderful to do. Then I headed back up to Chicago on Thursday and stayed with my friend Carolyn (@papersquared on Twitter), who was one of my co-presenters for my second presentation. We also picked up Katie Fortney (@kfortney) from the airport after a bit of a delay.

My swanky hotel room!

We even had a balcony. It was a long way down.

Friday was registration day! But first the all-important coffee and then breakfast at Xoco, where I met Cory (@helenstwin), Erika (@librarianearp), and Julie (@himissjulie). Xoco is a fabulous place to eat, and their spiced hot chocolate is yummy. The conference was held at the McCormick Center, which is this expansive behomoth of a conference center. However registration was quick, and since the exhibits were not open yet it was still kind of quiet in the center.

The ribbons, they were starting. 

You know what I forgot to do? Take a lot of pictures. No, I am not kidding. Yes, I took a bunch, but it seems that reviewing them now I don't have many general ones that really take in the space itself. The McCormick wasn't horrible, but it was so huge that trying to find rooms, especially with the North & South designations, weren't always easy.  

RUSA 101 was hopping

One thing I did attend on Friday was RUSA 101. I am not currently a member, but since collection development is a big part of my job, and one of my passions, it was an easy choice. I didn't have a chance to talk to anyone from CODES (the collection development and services subcommittee) but I am pretty sure this will be one group I am joining.

I see @stevelibrarian! And @popcullibrarian!

And @rachel_nk! 

And @papersquared!

However, Friday was the Circulating Ideas Dinner - which was more of a get-together than a dinner, but there were drinks, and food, and fabulousness. SO many fabulous people were there, ones that I feel I knew already because we all talk on Twitter. From there we traveled down to the Stacked/KidLit Party, where I met MORE fabulous librarians, including Kelly (@catagator), who was another one of my co-presenters.

Did I mention that this week was the first time I met all of my co-presenters in person? The wonders of technology...

So Friday was a great start to the conference, but Saturday was the big day - my presentations!

And that is a whole other post...

12 June 2013

June Is Crazy-Busy Librarian Month

It has been a crazy ride for June already! For me, June is the end of our fiscal year at the library so I am trying to make sure that all our invoices, purchase orders, and such are going to be set and/or cleared at the end of the month. Our Annual Meeting for the Corporators is next week so I am preparing the Annual Report and getting the budget for next year finalized.

Our Friends group is finishing their year with an Annual Meeting and ice cream social later this week. I will be doing a "Hot Summer Reads" booktalk for adults and young adults.

Plus, it is Summer Reading Program time! I have everything just about set for the adult program, and we are finishing set up for the youth program. We will begin in two weeks, just before school lets out. They are running late this year due to the snow days taken by the district.

I am trying to line up all my ducks because I will be gone not only the first day of Summer Reading, but the first two weeks! Why? I will be heading to Chicago for my very first ALA Annual Conference! I am terrified thrilled because not only do I get to attend, but I am actually presenting twice!

Since both of my programs are on the same day, this means that I get to participate (and probably overextend) myself at a number of other amazing programs and events. With the ALA Scheduler up and running, I have been able to pull together a lot that seem interesting, while trying to remember I do not have to attend everything. Because then I will die.

I know that there are a lot of colleagues and friends that I have met, mostly online, that will be attending too. So, I wanted to have a chance to say hi, whether passing at a program or attending an event. I am posting my schedule as it stands below, and I do hope that I will get the opportunity to meet many of the fabulous people I talk with every day, in one place or another. So, drop me a line here or via Twitter (@booksnyarn), and I'll see you in Chicago!

27 May 2013

Show Me The Awesome: Strategic Planning

"Artwork by John LeMasney, lemasney.com."

"Show Me The Awesome!" was started by Kelly, Sophie, and Liz to give bloggers a chance to step up and discuss something special or that they want to promote. Today is my opportunity to discuss something that many may not quite think of as awesome, but is important to a lot of libraries: strategic planning.

For those who may not know, a strategic plan is a document that defines the library's vision of itself within its community and outlines how it will achieve that vision through various goals. Those goals will usually have related actions that follow, creating a template for building the library in a specific direction. Usually this document is structured around five years. In Massachusetts, libraries must have a strategic plan, along with a yearly action plan, to qualify for LSTA grants administered by the state.

At the time I left a network position to become the director at my library, I was serving on the Strategic Planning Committee for the network. As a member of that committee, I had a voice in what I believed were the goals of the network and its constituents--member libraries. Switching from my "inside" job to running a member library meant that I had a unique perspective on the process, and I've appreciated the experience I gained when helping to develop the vision and goals for the network's next five years.

Fast forward to this spring: with a full year as a director under my belt, I knew that one of my goals was to implement a new strategic plan. The last plan was woefully out of date--about ten years--and the library had gone through many changes since it was written, including automation. Needless to say, serving on a committee and being the person who is actually responsible for forming that committee are two different things. I believe that the public library should be an anchor in the community; to make sure that happens, we need key community members to help create a strategic plan. This means not only people involved with the library directly, like board members or wonderful patrons who use the library every day, but also people who may not step through our doors, but are in and out of doors throughout the city.

So, I went after the big names: the Mayor, the President of the Chamber of Commerce, the heads of the School Committee, Council on Aging, and the Arts Collaborative. I sent them personal letters letting them know that the library needed their help. We need their perspectives from the community and their knowledge--or lack of knowledge--about the library. I wanted people that could see our past, but who would also have a vision of our future.

I was extremely pleased when many of them responded positively! The Mayor, the head of the Senior Center, and a member of the Arts Collaborative are all on the committee. It also includes the Headmaster of the private secondary school in the city, plus a devoted library patron and a library volunteer. These people, along with board members, are all working with me to define the library's presence in the community and how it can provide support for people, businesses, arts, schools, and city government.

While this can certainly be a long process, our regional office of the Massachusetts Library System has streamlined the process using Sandra Nelson's New Planning for Results, outlining a three-meeting system that is concise yet thorough. We complete a visioning exercise for the library and one for the community, conduct a public survey, and use information from all of these to develop the strategic plan. Once the library board approves the document, it goes to the Mass Board of Library Commissioners for approval. Each year we will also have to submit a revised action plan detailing what we will accomplish in the coming year.

We had our first meeting earlier this month, outlining our process and participating in a SOAR (Strengths, Opportunities, Aspirations, Results) analysis to start building the library's goals. It was amazing to hear the perspectives of committee members, and hear what was already great about the library and what we can do better. I have no doubt I have the right committee for this work, and I am pleased that I didn't hold back from asking the people I really wanted to join us.

What's your experience with strategic planning?

06 May 2013

Out of the Library: Presenting at the NY Library Association Public Libraries Section

Last week was very busy, and ended on Friday with a whirlwind trip out to New York to present at the New York Library Association Public Libraries Section Spring Conference. This was held down in Hyde Park at the FDR Presidential Library and Museum, which I had never been to before. The weather could not have cooperated more, and I was very pleased to co-present with Anna (@helgagrace) on erotica in libraries.

The group was really great, energetic, and had a lot of questions. The rest of the day I got to hear an interesting keynote from Tim Stevens of Engadget about publishing and the effect of sponsored editorials (advetorials) in relationship to reference queries and vetting sources. Then the afternoon was devoted (for me) to reader's advisory for both children and young adults. It was a fabulous day!

25 April 2013

@ The Library: The Space and Time (Programming) Continuum

I love my library, but when it comes to space, it is definitely at a premium. The library was built in the late 1800s, and now serves a community of over 16,000. We currently have two floors (adult & youth), a shared office/staff room, and no meeting rooms. So, when it is time to schedule programs, you can see  that shoehorns and spreadsheets come into play.

When I came to the library, programs were held during the open evening hours, which meant shifting the reading tables and chairs, setting up seating or a screen in front of the DVD collection, and small walking areas to get to the circulation desk and the public computers. Attendance ranges from a couple to a couple dozen, for the most part.

I began "After Hours" programming for the library on Thursdays. We close at 6 PM, so that meant we didn't have to worry about the public wandering around during the sessions, and those programs also stayed pretty small, so that was fine.

Then, this happened...

This would be about half of the 55 people that came to a birding program last week. It happened on a Wednesday because the group booked it almost a year ahead of time and I did not think the response would be quite this large.  The circulation desk (on the far right) was almost completely blocked, and there wasn't enough seating so there are people behind where this picture was taken who are standing in the stacks.

It was wonderful and kind of awful at the same time.

I want this kind of response for programming, for sure. This one was sponsored by a local group, so I know much of the attendance was driven by them. I would welcome them back next year - during a closed time at the library. I am working harder at publicity, but it is still grinding my wheels a little bit. Plus space set-up and then patrons who come during after hours wanting circulation staff available. It seems that there is no perfect solution.

What do other libraries do with space and time issues?

22 April 2013

Spreading the Library Love

Today I thought I would spread the love for some current projects that I personally support and hope that you will too!

ARC Survey

To everyone who has responded to the survey post I put up last week -- or found it through Stacked or A Chair, A Fireplace and A Tea Cozy -- THANK YOU! We have gotten over 400 responses so far, which will go a long way toward helping us identify trends in the acquisition and use of ARCs for our presentation at ALA Annual in June.

If you haven't had a chance to respond, please do so! And if you have, feel free to share it with other bloggers, librarians, and teachers who use ARCs.

Circulating Ideas

The Circulating Ideas podcast has been one of my staples for quite a while. Steve always finds a great way to hook into topics with other librarians, and one thing is for sure, there is always something new to learn! Last week Steve announced a Kickstarter campaign to help him update some of the software he has been using, and hopefully make it portable so that he can conduct on-site interviews at ALA Annual, including one with Nancy Pearl!

This campaign DID reach its initial goal (in less than 48 hours!) but Steve also put in a few "stretch goals" to increase what he can do with the podcast. Go take a look and help support a fellow librarian!

ALA Programming Librarian Interest Group

If you do any kind of programming for your library, there is an ALA petition to create a Programming Librarian Interest Group. This petition needs 100 signatures before the Committee on Organization will look at it for consideration. I found out about this petition on the ALA Think Tank Facebook Group.

If you are an ALA member, follow the link and please sign!

Are there any projects you are supporting right now?

17 April 2013

@ The Library: Learning the Collection Through Displays

Now that I have been here a year, I am starting to work on filling the holes in my knowledge about the collection. Over the last year I did accomplish some massive weeding projects throughout nonfiction, VHS, and books on cassette. We had some heavy-duty shelf sitters and overcrowded subject areas. The previous director loved nonfiction, but I have always been a fiction buyer and that was where I focused my efforts when I began working with the collection. Mysteries are the most popular genre here, but they still need to be weeded from time to time. I also broke out science fiction and fantasy into its own area.

One thing I have enjoyed bringing to the library is more displays. We are a small library, but I have a bay in the New Titles area and a cart in front of the circulation desk where I present new displays one or two times a month. I have mostly done "Celebrate X Month" displays, although I do try to highlight authors that have recently passed on, and this month I have a gardening display up because oh-my-goodness I am ready for spring!

It was really when putting together this month's displays -- gardening, Jazz Appreciation, and National Poetry Month -- that I realized I was seeing, if not necessarily shelf-sitters, but titles that were not being picked up as much as I had anticipated. Usually, when these displays go up, I have to fill in spaces several times throughout the month. With these, not so much. I think I have only replaced four books so far.

This could be interpreted in my patrons' lack of interest in the subject areas, but as you can see, they are not the latest titles. I think I had just one gardening book that was published in the last couple of years. We have no recent poetry anthologies, and jazz is not a topic that we have a lot of requests for.

So I sent my selector off in search of some more recent titles in gardening and poetry, with the help of our recent issues of Library Journal (which highlighted both subjects in recent print articles and reviews) and looking at the topics online at both Barnes & Noble and Amazon. I figure if people are buying them there, they will borrow them here!

This has really made me wonder about how best to take a look at smaller areas of the collection, as opposed to the "weeding the 600s" mentality that can sometimes exist in libraries. My library is all part-time staff except for me, and while they do a great job at weeding and making recommendations, we certainly do not focus on these tasks every week. By using displays, we will actually be able to analyze the collection more and make decisions based on patron interest and usage. I am hoping to see this grow into a scheduled review of specific sections each month when the displays change out.

Do you ever find yourself making collection development decisions based on displays?

15 April 2013

ARC Use Survey for ALA Annual

We need your help!

If you are a follower of Stacked, or SLJ's A Chair, A Fireplace and A Tea Cozy, you will have already seen this call for help, but for those that haven't...

I am going to be presenting at ALA Annual this summer along with Kelly Jensen and Liz Burns on Advance Reading Copies. We did a quick little survey a few weeks ago about how authors see their books change from ARC or galley to final print/ebook, and now we want to know how librarians, teachers, bloggers and others acquire and use them.

Please take a few minutes to respond to our survey and pass the link (http://goo.gl/vY3Vr) on to others that use them. All of your information will only make our presentation better.

If you are heading to Chicago in June for ALA, we will be presenting "All About ARCs" on Saturday, June 30 at 10:30 AM.

Thank you!

10 April 2013

Amazon, Goodreads, LibraryThing

Ever since the announcement of a couple weeks ago that Goodreads was purchased by Amazon, the internets have been abuzz on what this means for changes in GR, how Amazon's foothold into the book business will exponentially grow, and where the proverbial rats that are deserting the GR ship can land, namely on the deck of LibraryThing.

When I first decided to start adding my books online, of course I went to LibraryThing. Word of mouth, a northeast locale, and availability made it the place to be. I started loading my books, adding tags, participating as an Early Reviewer and in SantaThing, and enjoyed it immensely. Plus, during my time at the C/W MARS network we used LibraryThing for Libraries to add tags and suggestions to our catalog.

Then Goodreads came along, with much of the same functionality. However, it was prettier, hands down. People could connect easier to other readers, publishers, and the giveaways abounded. I saw a lot of my colleagues and friends using Goodreads more and more, so eventually I went over there. I liked that it had an app for my devices, that I could see what my connections were reading and writing about those reads, and it definitely worked for Reader's Advisory. I never stopped holding my LibraryThing account, but it did grow dusty on its internet shelf.

Then...Amazon. *sigh*

I cannot say I am part of the pitchfork group against Amazon (maybe a really large fork?). I do use them as a consumer: I am a Prime member, I have the Kindle app on my devices and own an older Kindle which I use for library ebook trainings. Their publishing imprints have produced some books I enjoy recommending (if you enjoy science fiction pick up Containment by Christian Cantrell, excellent stuff), and they have definitely placed themselves squarely within the book market as a force.

Yet I see the concerns, and do concur with them. As stated by Greg Bensinger in the NPR story:

"...there is a concern that Amazon will know too much about its users. They don't want Amazon to know what books they're reading. As it stands today, Amazon knows is the books you bought but it doesn't always know the books you read. Say a neighbor gives you a book and you read it. On Goodreads, you're inclined to talk about that. And now Amazon will know even the books you don't buy and how you feel about them."

The split is there between librarians, too. In Molly McCardle's article for Library Journal, "Will Librarians Still Use Goodreads?", four librarians run the gamut from getting away from Goodreads to giving it a chance. The bailout from Goodreads to LibraryThing has definitely been happening. Yes, Amazon does have a small foothold in LibraryThing, due to its purchase of AbeBooks, but it is not sole or majority ownership. It doesn't have control over data (at least, not that I know of).

I am still waiting to see what happens next. I have seen the experience of Amazon's creep into library lending with Kindle ebook availability. The convenience of getting the format balanced by the understanding that Amazon knows your library history - at least your digital one. The courtesy reminders that your ebook is coming due accompanied by the ability to "buy it to continue reading." Above all, Amazon is a business, and they do it quite successfully, if not without questions and concerns. I fully expect to see this same creep into Goodreads. One of these days one of the Amazon emails will state: "You listed X in your Goodreads profile; would you like to read Y?" That may be my tipping point.

Until then, I am using the Goodreads export feature to update my LibraryThing account. So, come find me in both places, for now. Is all of this affecting how you are handling your Goodreads, LibraryThing or other online book account?

08 April 2013

@ The Library: Library Tea & First Anniversary

This weekend I actually played a Saturday Librarian! (If you don't know why that may be important, take a look at the hashtag #saturdaylibrarian on Twitter.) My library has been closed for a few years now on the weekends, and when I was hired one of the items mentioned was being able to reopen on Saturdays. We haven't quite gotten there yet, but with a couple of things happening in our future, I am hopeful we will see Saturday hours before the end of the year.

I work for an incorporated (privately-held, not a City-owned) library, and each year the Association holds a tea for the public to come in, enjoy food, meet members of the Corporation, library staff and stakeholders, and enjoy the library for a couple of hours. We had our Library Tea on Saturday. It was a lovely day, so we were able to open the front doors and invite the public in. Our Friends group had a display up too!

All in all it was a great time!

I realized that Monday is my anniversary at the library too! I have been a library director for one year - a long and short time, I have to say. It has really flown by, and I feel that I have made accomplishments I am happy with: running my first Adult Summer Reading Program, getting a second circulation computer put in, building contacts with the local businesses and arts community, creating more adult programming, including our weekly ebook drop in class. Yet I see so much on the horizon, especially this year as we do strategic planning and start work on the goals of our technology plan.

Plus, I guess since the first anniversary is paper, I am certainly celebrating that in style...

02 April 2013

@ The Library: April Displays & Programming

As usual, trying to plan ahead meant looking up what April celebrated. I already had a gardening display in mind, because I have been waiting anxiously to be able to work the ground (and new indoor plants) and finally the weather seems to be making that final transition from winter to spring.

I wanted to try something a bit different for the signage, so I created a Wordle. I saw another library posting that used one also so I was inspired (if only I could remember which library/blog, I would totally give credit).

I like how you can not only play with font, but with arrangement and color. After creating a custom palette of colors, I kept clicking the palette until I got colors that were strong enough for the display.

April is National Poetry Month, and while we do not have a large collection, I wanted to highlight those titles. Then I discovered that it is also Jazz Appreciation Month. I am not a huge jazz fan, but I do appreciate it! It is also a topic that I thought would mix well with poetry, so I created a combined display.

Originally I was going to create two small displays, but the shelving I have (next to our New Titles area) is limited so I knew that I couldn't get away with two signs. Instead I mixed the jazz and poetry titles together, looked for an appropriate quote and created a sign for the compound display.

The quote is a not-quite-complete one by Abraham Maslow (American psychologist best known for his theory of the hierarchy of needs), stating "A musician must make music...a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself."

It seemed fitting.

This month is also fast-tracking summer programming for the adult Summer Reading Program. Yes, I am only starting now, but my Youth Department already has everything scheduled and I try to work around their events, because many of my adult participants have children in the Youth SRP.

We are trying to keep with this year's overall theme, "Groundbreaking Reads/Dig Into Reading". We have a big gardening base here so I am definitely looking that way for both events and craft programs. I don't think the adults here had any hands-on crafts during SRP before, but we had good turnouts for the two I did last year, so I hope to keep that going!

Is anyone else doing summer reading for adults?

25 March 2013

@ The Library: Well-Behaved Women & Strategic Planning

March better go out like a lamb, that is all that I am saying. After another week that had my library closing because of snowfall -- on the last day of Winter, even, good call -- I am going to make sure that April displays are full of sunshine, plants, and brightness. 

Plus my open-toe shoes are calling...

On to the rest of this month's displays! After St. Patrick's Day ended I wanted to make sure to commemorate Women's History Month, but did not want to do straight history, or completely non-fiction. There are definitely strong women in fiction also, of all ages. 

I used to have the Laurel Thatcher Ulrich quote, "Well behaved women seldom make history," as a bumper sticker on my car. Sadly that has gone the way of "car gets rear ended and bumper gets replaced," so my car is rather blank right now. However, that quote was perfect for this display, and with the ubiquitous image of Rosie the Riveter, I brought together a display of books featuring women who displayed their strength, sometimes in ways that definitely were not "well behaved."

Then of course this past week we lost Nigerian author Chinua Achebe. I have been lax on reading his books, however Things Fall Apart is a title that has been in my head for a very long time. It is probably time to get acquainted.

I have been at my library for almost a year now, and one of the priorities listed when I took the job was updating our strategic plan. Needless to say, it is woefully out of date. This will be my first time participating in one at the library level, although I just recently was on the strategic planning committee for my network. However, there are definitely big differences: first off, we will not have a consultant all the way through. Most of the leg work (and hand work, AKA writing) will be done by me, but we have some very good consultants at the Massachusetts Library System to help guide and facilitate one meeting. So, my first goal was to review Sandra Nelson's Strategic Planning for Results, which has been amazingly helpful. I attended a roundtable on strategic planning through the MLS also, so I am starting off with some good background information. 

My Board and I developed a list of people we wanted to invite to be on the committee, and some have happily responded. We will probably look for a couple more to be on the committee, and now I am putting together a snapshot of the library for the last five years.

Has anyone else participated with their library's strategic plan? Do you have any pointers or advice?

27 February 2013

@ The Library: Displays, Business & More

Blind Date with a Book has gone very well this past month. While of course not everyone brought their Rate Your Date sheets back, I have had to fill the two displays up at least twice each, and we still have a couple days to go in February. I moved all the titles to the one display area and changed the rolling cart display to books dealing with Ireland, both fiction and non-fiction.

I am planning on changing out Blind Dates for a Women's History Month display next week. Although I have also been informed that it is also National Craft Month, so we may have some swapping out mid-month.

I am still doing Ebook Tech Talks every week. I just sit myself down at one of the tables on the main floor with my laptop and various devices and people drop in for tutorials and Q & A. It has been a really great experience not only for the training but for being able to deal with patrons one on one and finding out what they are looking for at the library.

I am still fleshing a program idea for this month based on cozy mysteries. And food. Food and books. Two of my favorite things.

Beyond that, my business is mostly at my desk. I am already reviewing budget figures, looking at the expenditures and projecting for the rest of the year and planning on my first budget draft being ready at the end of the month. This year we are also creating a new strategic plan, for which I already drafted and had approved a technology plan for the library. Some things are future-thinking, some may be closer at hand. I love seeing the changes that are making a positive effect on my library, and hope to keep an open mind on ones that might not be so successful. 

Outside of the library I have been keeping busy writing. I still review e-original romance for Library Journal, but also just started reviewing cookbooks. I had been wanting to be able to do some non-fiction, and for me this is a great fit, especially as what I have received so far deals with preserving, which I love to do at home. Lots of great new ideas!

I was fortunate to substitute for the regular mystery reviewer this month and wrote my first mystery review column for the February 1st issue. I was also one of the fortunate librarians who spoke to Katie Dunneback for her feature article on erotica in the library. I will have more in the pipeline soon!

What I am most excited about is coming up a bit later this year: I have been fortunate enough to work with some wonderful librarians, and have teamed up with them to do a couple of presentations, both for the New York Library Association Public Libraries Section and for ALA Annual!

In May, I will be at the NYLA PLS Conference in Hyde Park, NY for a presentation on erotica collection development in the library, called "Full Frontal Shelving". My co-presenter is the wonderful Anna M., @helgagrace on Twitter. We will be talking about what erotica and erotic romance may already be sitting on library shelves, and how to do collection development and RA for both print and digital books. 

In June, I will be heading to Chicago for my first ALA Annual Conference, at which I will be presenting with Carolyn and Julie (@papersquared and @himissjulie respectively) on library programming and staff involvement called "Do What You Love: Make Your Talents and Passions Work for You".

I am sure that I will be a complete fangirl at times dealing with all of you who will be attending too! So, don't be shy, if you are at either conference coming up, please stop and say hello!

04 February 2013

@ The Library: Blind Date with a Book

I love doing displays, and since I came into my library last year (it seems pretty amazing to be able to say that. Yes, I know it is only February.) I have been making sure that we have one or two up a month on the main floor, besides our Staff Picks. From the amount of times I have to fill in holes, I think they have been doing well.

So, I wanted something tied into the idea of February and the overall theme of love, but still make it fun. Thanks to many libraries and librarians that are promoting their own displays, I discovered "Blind Date with a Book".

The premise is simple: wrap up a bunch of titles (I decided to go with adult and YA, which are on the main floor, backlist or new titles that haven't seem to have been checked out yet) and put a little blurb on the front to entice the patron to give it a try. I kept it pretty simple with genre/theme, and decided not to use the barcodes that are already on the books. Instead we will circulate them "pre-cataloged" so the title is still a surprise to the patron until they unwrap it.

I would like to say this was my plan all along, however it came about because I wrapped a dozen titles without writing down the barcode beforehand. I am a librarian, I can adapt.

Of course, we want to know what patrons think of their "dates", so we have a "Rate Your Date" form available for them to fill out if they want. My design was totally inspired by the Atlantic County Library System's rating card, so I gave them credit at the bottom.

I decided to not only put them at our regular main desk display cart, but in our New Titles section, as both areas are pretty high traffic.

Has your library done Blind Date with a Book? What other displays do you find are a hit with your patrons?