Archive for the ‘Library, General’ Category

From article in the, written by Bella Bathurst:

“Worksop has a resident book-eater. “We kept noticing that pages had been ripped from some of the books,” says Peter Collins. “Not whole pages, just little bits. It would always be done really neatly, just the tops of the pages. And then we’d see these little pellets everywhere, little balls of chewed paper cropping up in different parts of the library. Eventually we figured out who it must be. None of us wanted to say we’d noticed him munching away at the books, so I approached him and said something like I’d noticed ‘tearing’ on some volumes. He said he didn’t know anything about it, but we’ve never seen him back.”

“And we had a streaker once,” Collins continues. “In Tamworth. He got into the lifts, and somewhere between the first and second floors he managed to take off all his clothes, run naked through Music and Junior, and then vanish out the front doors. The library there is right next to a graveyard, so goodness only knows what happened to him. Still, all part of life’s rich tapestry.”

Our library seems downright boring next to this.


3 Irish Authors short listed for the
2011 International IMPAC DUBLIN Literary Award.

The short list will be confirmed by
the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Gerry Breen at 11.00am on 12th April 2011 in the Mansion House, Dublin

10 novels have been shortlisted for the International IMPAC DUBLIN Literary Award, from a total of 162 novels nominated by 166 public library systems in 126 cities worldwide. For the first time, the shortlist includes novels by three Irish authors; Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann, Brooklyn by Colm Toibín and Love and Summer by William Trevor. The International IMPAC DUBLIN Literary Award is worth €100,000 and is the world’s most prestigious literary prize nominated by public libraries world-wide. 
The Lord Mayor of Dublin Gerry Breen, Patron of the Award, officially confirmed the titles on this year’s shortlist, nominated by public libraries in Australia, Barbados, Belgium, Canada, England, Germany, Greece, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Scotland, South Africa, Switzerland, and the USA.

The short listed titles are:

  1. Galore by Michael Crummey (Canadian). Doubleday Canada
  2. The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver (American). Faber & Faber, HarperCollins, USA
  3. The Vagrants by Yiyn Li  (Chinese / American) Random House, USA
  4. Ransom by David Malouf  (Australian) Random House Australia
  5. Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann (Irish) Bloomsbury, UK, Random House, USA
  6. Little Bird of Heaven by Joyce Carol Oates  (American) Ecco Press, USA
  7. Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey  (Australian) Allen & Unwin
  8. Brooklyn by Colm Toibín (Irish) Viking UK, Scribner, USA
  9. Love and Summer by William Trevor (Irish) Viking, UK
  10. After the Fire, a Still, Small Voice by Evie Wyld (Australian) Pantheon Books, USA

More about the shortlist

From this list, all I’ve read is Evie Wyld’s After the Fire, a Still, Small Voice. I’d be ecstatic if it won, but then again I have no others to compare it with, which makes that a trifle biased. Not that that’s ever stopped me.

I have a copy of Galore for review, haven’t heard of  The Vagrants, Jasper Jones or Love and Summer, though of course I know of William Trevor. The others I know of but have never read.

So, once again, I’m faced with having no idea  on earth who will win, only that I’ll hope it’s Evie Wyld since her book was positively brilliant.

What’s that you say? Did I hear, “Lisa, why don’t you read the shortlist, then make an informed guess?!”

Are  you trying to kill me, people?!  Yes, it’s a prize generated via the opinions of public librarians, and yes, I’m a public librarian. And, if you offer to fly me to Ireland for the awards ceremony I wouldn’t hesitate to read these novels while standing on my head. (Okay, maybe not standing on my head.)

The award date isn’t until June 15, but I’m already reviewing for two sites, plus for NetGalley at my own pace, and I have half a mind to apply to Kirkus, too. Oh, and the Orange Prize Longlist. I’ve been too eager to wait for the short, plus for whatever completely insane reason thought I should also guess the short…

Oh, hell. Maybe. But keep in mind a ticket to Ireland would positively seal the deal. Ireland in June? Yes, please!

National Drop Everything and Read Day

What is National D.E.A.R. Day?
D.E.A.R. stands for Drop Everything and Read. National D.E.A.R. Day is a special reading celebration to remind and encourage families to make reading together on a daily basis a family priority.

Can I celebrate D.E.A.R. Day on another date?
Yes, of course. Every day is a great day to Drop Everything and Read! The goal is to make reading a regular part of your routine. So, go ahead and read today, tomorrow, and every day!

Who is leading the National D.E.A.R. Day Celebration? The National Education Association (NEA); Parent Teacher Association (PTA); the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association; Reading Rockets; The General Federation of Women’s Clubs (GFWC); the Newspaper Association of America Foundation (NAA); First Book; HarperCollins Children’s Books; Read Kiddo Read; Walden Media and Ramona Quimby.

More about the partners

When is National D.E.A.R. Day?
The birthday of beloved author Beverly Cleary is the official event date, April 12th. Ramona Quimby, the program’s official spokesperson, is responsible for spreading the word and the love of reading.

Why is National D.E.A.R. Day celebrated on Beverly Cleary’s birthday?
Beverly Cleary receives thousands of letters a year from young readers, many who have participated in D.E.A.R. at school. Their interest in and enthusiasm for this special reading activity inspired Mrs. Cleary to give the same experience to Ramona Quimby, who gets to enjoy D.E.A.R. time with the rest of her class in Ramona Quimby, Age 8.

How can I participate?
Schools, libraries, bookstores and other organizations are being asked to host Drop Everything and Read events on April 12th. You can attend an event in your community or participate right in your own home by reading for 30 minutes!


Could an online booksharing scheme spell the end for the traditional library?

A scheme where residents post their own books online to swap, then meet to complete the transaction has worried some library campaigners

Sutton Bookshare scheme

Testing out Sutton council’s new online bookshare scheme. Photograph: Sarah Lee for the Guardian

With more people using the internet, an online booksharing scheme might appear to be the perfect solution for people unable to visit their local library. But the idea has caused dismay among some library campaigners. The London borough of Sutton last Monday launched its online booksharing scheme where residents post their own books to swap, then meet in person to complete the transaction.

Registered users upload details of books they want to share using open source data. Once they tap in the ISBN, a small picture of the publication appears with a few explanatory notes and the owner’s details. Borrowers can then get in touch to agree loan terms and where to meet.

Read more…

We’ve just switched our library catalog over to Bibliocommons, a much more interactive, 21st century social networking-friendly system than our previous catalog – iBistro. It was rolled out to the public around March 1, but we had time to play with it before the inevitable questions started. And dear reader, I am in love!

I’m the sort of reader who loves making lists, very often lists I never refer to again (I have a list of books to be read on a Google spreadsheet, and never refer to it/haven’t updated it in months), but any old list is a good list. Bibliocommons allows the user to make all sorts of lists, those that keep track of books read, books in progress and books to read later (of which I’ll eventually have thousands, I have no doubt). It also allows you to see what other users are reading, what they thought of it once they’ve finished, and what books are on their “to be read” lists.

In addition, like at Amazon users can create lists of suggested reading, such as “My favorite books by institutionalized authors,” or “What I read when my husband is snoring and I can’t sleep (instead of hitting him over the head with a mallet),” etc. Other users can view these lists, and if the subject is one they’re interested in then BAM! here are suggestions for books the list-maker enjoyed and the list reader may, too.

Readers can review materials, suggest audience-appropriate ages, note if there’s anything graphic so more sensitive readers can steer clear if they choose (or adventurous sorts can have a field day), and more.  Did I mention I love it? Because I do love it.

And what’s not to love? Nothing, in my opinion, aside from the ubiquitous learning curve as everyone gets used to the new system. I have heard a few complaints from users, unsurprisingly, as some grew attached to the old, more clunky system and resist the change. Anything new and unfamiliar is bound to elicit some grumbling.  Such is life.

Even I had my share of difficulties at first, and I was trained. Twice, actually! Still, it’s hard picturing in my mind what people are talking about when they call and ask questions. If they’re at the library it’s easier. Then I can perch on their shoulder and see first-hand the nature of the problem. But over the phone it’s challenging, especially if the patron’s terminology/perception is different from what I’m seeing on the screen.

So far all the questions I’ve had have been about the sign-in procedure, which I’ll admit is a little wonky. It took me several attempts to get that settled, myself, because it kept rejecting me (SOB!). So I can identify with that. But once you’re in I found it very intuitive, and a much more  user-friendly system.

A lot of libraries seem to be making the switch to Bibliocommons, at least in the Chicagoland area. And all the local libraries’ patron information is included in our system. That is, when you enter data here it’s visible to all the libraries in the area, so lists can be exchanged between thousands and thousands of library patrons, making it even more fun and useful. Unless you choose otherwise, of course, and make your information private. You can do that, too. But of course I don’t. I shout all my book thoughts from the top of the roof, social network them to death, and spend my life on Amazon.

Is that wrong?

Anyway, welcome, Bibliocommons! If I didn’t say it before, I love you!

And, if anyone wants to find me just search for Algonquin_Lisa and you can peruse my bookish ravings thoughts to your heart’s content. Leave me a message, too, if you’d like. Especially if you have praise to share.

Blogus Interruptus

Posted: June 21, 2010 in Library, General

Sorry for the silence, not to mention the big move from the NSLS site to WordPress, which was totally out of my control. NSLS has gone under, thanks to the State of Illinois. The state stopped funding the library system, so the library system went away.

That doesn’t mean our individual libraries have disappeared. It just means we no longer have an organizing body to take care of all of us as a whole – no headquarters, etc.

What this all means I don’t really know. We may merge with another library system, or break up and merge with several. No one has those answers yet. For now we’re in limbo, unsure if our interlibrary load will even remain. And if that goes…? Can’t bear to think about it.

I’m concentrating on getting this blog up and running again. The new main focus will probably be the popular/genre fiction I’m trying to catch up with. While still reading my regular fare of literary fiction, classics and nonfiction, I’m adding in authors I’d never considered reading before. The purpose is to better serve the public. Reading what most patrons read puts me more in touch with their tastes, which can only be a good thing.

Still in a state of flux here, so bear with me. If you can even FIND me, that is. But I’m still here. Look closely and you’ll see me wave.

Last summer my supervisor started putting me on the reference desk, as I’d completed at least one reference course working toward my MLIS. She figured it was time to initiate me in the wonder that is working with the public. And sometimes they really do make me wonder.

At first I was limited to a couple hours a week, but now I’m up to two or three shifts some weeks. But still, it can be an intimidating proposition. Thank goodness I’m never out there alone.

Summer, at least around here, can usually be counted on to be pretty quiet. There are summer reading sign ups for adults and young adults, and prizes to be handed out; books and other materials to locate and/or put on hold, etc. You know the basics. Aside from that, it’s usually quiet enough to get other work done in between patron questions and phone calls. Working the reference desk in the summer used to be a relaxing proposition, something to look forward to.

Not so this summer. I was on the desk yesterday, for the first time since my vacation, and never have I seen it so swamped. For the first half hour or so it wasn’t bad. There were questions, but nothing exceptional. And then it took off, continuing rapid fire for the rest of my shift. I and the other librarian were running the whole time, searching for materials or answering questions one after the other. Occasionally lines formed at the desk – something I’ve hardly ever seen – and the phone was rang off the hook.

There are loads of articles on the topic of libraries booming in this economic downturn, and I have seen the increase. But it’s never been like yesterday. I don’t work the desk every day, but I see how packed it is when I’m out in the library(normally I’m tucked safely away in the uber-quiet staff room). Some patrons are here to save money on books and other forms of entertainment, but others are seeking specific information on job searching, interviewing and resume writing.

We keep job ads from the local newspapers behind the reference desk, to lessen the chance they’ll be stolen. It’s a shame, but that’s how it must be. Patrons requesting these papers look more and more harried all the time, more defeated and forlorn. You have to feel for them, wishing you could do more.

Many days our parking lot’s so full I have to circle around a while to find a spot. It’s more than at-home moms making use of the library, unlike the old days when they and the retirees made up most of our daytime traffic. Now you see patrons from all age groups. While that is, theoretically, a good thing, it’s too bad it must come at such a price.

I wonder how many of these patrons currently making use of our services will continue coming once the economy turns up again, and they’re able to secure jobs? Surely a percentage will, but somehow I have the sinking feeling most won’t. Maybe I’m a pessimist (maybe?!), but once life returns to normal I don’t know what impact this current activity will have on the importance of the library in general.

Our county has been hit hard by unemployment. The current rate hovers around 10 %, which is huge. It will be a while before things start looking up again. In that time, what can we do to communicate to the public how willing we are to serve them, that we’re professionals in the information-seeking business?

In my own position, adult programming, I’ve scheduled job search program after job search program. But it’s not like people are knocking at the doors to get in. So far none of them have been full. What seems more popular are programs about saving money on groceries and essentials. Even a program on tips for winning sweepstakes was well-attended. But job search programs? So far not so much.

Why? One reason may be the perception of embarrassment attached to meeting other people who are also out of work. There may be misplaced shame attached to losing a job which is stronger than being seen asking for help. I honestly don’t know, but I am surprised.

Meanwhile, we’ll keep doing what we do, helping our patrons as much as we’re able. It’s a catch-22 seeing the library being utilized while people are struggling to make ends meet, knowing once things are better we’ll slow down again. We can’t wish them ill, but …

There’s only so much we can do; we have to face reality. In the interim, we can hope those who deal with new digital technology will keep us on the cutting edge, and that libraries won’t be seen as outdated institutions. Hopefully what we’re doing right now will raise our profile within the community. Chin up!