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?