Drop-In Demos: Games and Gaming

all three days (Sunday/Mon/Tues) at periodic times

Information Technology Section (ITS) members have again assembled an assortment of popular games sure to become hits in your library. Come at your convenience to play, learn more about this increasingly popular option, and take advantage of the opportunity for a hands-on trial.

gaming lab @nela2009
photo credit: Brian Herzog

Personal Thoughts and Impressions: My FAVORITE part of the conference!! I must have spent a good 45 minutes in that room trying to not stink at Rock Star (the screen on the far left). I play most of my video games on the PC and tend to gravitate towards long, adventure/quest-type games, so it was quite a treat to get to see some of the more popular games and consoles first hand.

The room had three type of game setups. On the left hand side, there was a PlayStation 2 with a Rock Star game loaded, complete with wireless guitar, wireless microphone, and drum set. In the middle was a Wii and various games and accessories. On the right hand side was a Xbox 360 with Guitar Hero loaded and a wireless guitar. I spent nearly all my time in there playing Rock Star, but I did watch a bowling game and a race car game being played on the Wii and listened in on a few discussions as well.

I hope this demo will be presented again at next year’s conference.

Excerpts from handout compiled by Scott Kehoe:

Who’s Got Game (some statistics)

    53% of all American adults play video games
    81% of all 18-29 year olds play video games


    76% of teens play online games

    66% of parents with children under 18 play games

    Gamer Profile
    55% male
    56% urbanites
    57% college educated
    62% annual income $50,000+
    no significant ethnic differences among game player

Online Bibliography:

Buying Games and Equipment:
GameStop – http://www.gamestop.com

  1. sell all consoles, games and accessories
  2. also sell USED games and equipment — can buy more equipment with less money
  3. take trade-ins — when games stop becoming popular, trade it in and get something else

Online Bibliography:

Library Success: A Best Practices Wiki
Goto: Programming/Gaming

Pew Internet & American Life Project – http://www.pewinternet.org – contains data on how Americans use the internet and their computers.
Goto: http://www.pewinternet.org/topics/gaming.aspx Or search site with keyword: gaming

Entertainment Software Association – http://www.theesa.com – video game industry professionals
Promotes video games and responsible for rating video games

Book Bibliography:
Game On! Gaming at the Library / Beth Gallaway
Neal-Schuman Publishers, Inc., 2009

Gaming in Academic Libraries: Collections, Marketing, & Information Literacy / Amy Harris & Scott E. Rice (Editors)
Association of College and Research Libraries, 2008

Introduction to Evolutionary Feng Shui

Every culture throughout time has generated a set of guidelines for living harmoniously with nature so that individuals may thrive. Feng Shui is the ancient Chinese system for such guidelines. Many of its principles are timeless and universal, offering both wisdom and common sense for understanding the relationship between people and the spaces they occupy. Amy Mims, director of The New England School of Feng Shui (updated: Ned Farrell, a CT Feng Shui consultant, was the presenter), shows how to create environments that feel wonderful and provide support for achieving your goals.

Excerpts from handout given by Mr. Farrell:

Feng shui knows how our environment affects us, and how we in turn can make our surroundings work to our greatest advantage.

No formula for an exact balance to your immediate surroundings exists, though with a little effort you will find the proper range. You’re looking for a feeling, not a formula.

a) Be mindful of what you see as you approach the house or front entrance.

    If the mailbox is at the street, paint it the same color as the front door.
    Get a brand new doormat.
    Cut back or deforest any shrubs or trees blocking the front entranceway.
    Ensure that the house number or signage is clearly visible.

b) Go through each room of the house or business, including garage, basement and attic.

    Get rid of clutter.
    Ask yourself “Why do I have this?”
    “When was the last time I have used this?”
    “Do I love this?”

c) In the kitchen,

    Remove everything from countertops and clean them well – put back only what you use every day.
    Put out of sight all knives, even those in wooden holders.

d) Throughout the house or building,

    Remove anything unnecessary from the corners or rooms. Leave free of objects or use upward lighting.
    All doors should work well.
    Remove everything stored behind every door.

And when in doubt, use your gut feeling as your best judgment. Your own emotions and feelings speak volumes to you.

Time to go FISHing

Monday, October 19, 11:15 – 12:30

During this time of cutbacks and economic hardship it is especially important to keep our customers happy. First see the FISH! Philosophy video, based on Seattle’s famous Pike Place Fish Market customer services methods.

Quotes from Video: “energy, passion, fun, play, choose your attitude, make it fun, we all like to have fun, you have to have fun at work, really dealing in service, realized that serving people is making people happy, be with the people moment to moment, don’t ignore ’em, be present moment to moment, be here now, do what you have to do, you have a choice at work – do what you can to have a good time or don’t, be happy, man, it’s not acceptable to be in a downer mood when you work with the public., choose your attitude, that’s fish”

Then Mark Willis, Community Relations manager for the Dayton (OH) Metro Library and author of “Dealing with Difficult People in the Library” describes simple ways to make improving service fun.

It’s not about the fish, it’s about the people. “I never want to hire someone who says they want to work in a library because they love books – it’s about the people.”
First impressions are important. Be careful of signage, especially negative.
Don’t use the word NO in a sign.
If the library is shabby and/or dirty/cluttered, patrons will do more damage – building not valued.

It’s all about you meeting/greeting the people.
Secret shopper strategy to check on quality of customer service: check w/o library card, get a library card, ask questions, ask to volunteer, etc, etc. Comments of secret shopper are always about attitude.

Be present
Be pleasant
Give the patron your full attention.

Never say, “It’s not my job.” Instead say I’ll find someone who can help you with that.”
Be a team.
Go the extra mile. People expect it. They expect a LOT.
Look at the book stores – they are the success stories in terms of value-added customer service.
Sometimes it’s just the co-workers having a great time at the circ desk. MAKE SURE that the patrons are in on the fun.
Be yourself, and offer personal info if it’s friendly conversation to put the patron at ease.
Art & craft by the librarians exhibition
Staff suggestions
Try to find ways you can bend rules, be flexible toward promoting goodwill, forgive small fines or damaged/lost books. Make exceptions.

Try not to say NO.
For-profit being booked by non-profit to use library facilities. Put menus in staff room instead of on public bulletin board, let people check out reference sometimes.

Take care of each other on the staff – help each other in little ways, be supportive, empathic.
Take care of yourself – be rested, fed, healthy, mentally healthy.

Ideas from the librarians in the audience:

Check voicemail message – make it happy. “The joy of life in your voice”

Recognize people: Thank you notes and/or acknowledgment to donors, to program leaders, to volunteer storytellers, to staff.
Put recognition cards out for patrons to fill out. Put a star on a sheet with each workstation listed.
“Patron of the month” program
“This is the BAD library, Daddy” story – shapeshift a difficult situation with a hostile patron by laughing it off.
Back office to circ desk mindset shift = going on stage, get in character, putting your face on
Look everywhere for good examples of customer service. Open your eyes to what works with you on the receiving end as a customer.
Throw parties. Use any excuse.
Weekly coffee time in the library
Look for the “Giving the pickle” video
Have the staff clap for the little kids getting their first library cards.

Planning for Better Times

Monday, October 19,  8:30 – 10:00

Mary Rose Quinn, director of Stevens Memorial Library in North Andover, MA and Ron Van Winkle, Town Manager for West Hartford, CT discuss the hard decisions that have to be made in times of economic strife and share ideas on how we can look down the road and plan for better times.

Mary Rose Quinn:
Three downturns in last 10 years: 1999, 2004, now. When you are in good times you are planning for the bad, and when in bad, you are hoping for better. Planning is key. What are your library’s priorities – what are those things that you can’t live without?

Be mindful of ebb and flow of budgets. If you add new technology, can you sustain it in the next economic downturn?

Town manager insists that items in the library budget are rearranged in terms of priority.
1. People
2. Collections
3. Technology
4. Physical plant.

Think strategically and prepare for the siege. Library directors should read “The Art of War” and/or learn to play chess.
Plan for the best while anticipating for the worst.
Have a Plan B – not to be shared with town officials. Have your contingencies in place. ” But  If” -What can you afford to live without while maintaining your services.
What is sustainable and what is not.
Gather your allies.
Marshall your forces and build strong community partnerships. (Rec dept & Senior Center)
Make a friend of your town manager. Make sure thay understand your services and will advocate for you.
“Hang together or hang separately”
In a downturn, libraries are vulnerable and need to build a moat – take stock – what’s important and communicate what your priorities are.
Preserve what you value and make tough choices.
Reduce book budget to save jobs – you can fund raise for books, but not salaries.
Elevator message (Gates Advocacy) – simple message for the parking lot.

Boston Public Library was cut last year by 4-5 mil. had a Ref Ctr for businesses, but closed that branch and moved it into the Copley Square branch which led to increased hours, more accessible, increased attendance, higher level of effectiveness.

Librarians and tragic flaws:
“But we’ve always done things this way”
We try to do too much with too little.
We believe that if we work for others, they will come to our aid – vs every man for himself.

In budget meetings with town officials:
Do not offer any info you are not asked.
Do not throw any one else’s budget under the bus.
Present “we are one big happy family” working toward a common goal.

In a long range plan, focus on the ideal – if you get it you have to be able to sustain it.
In tough times, retrench rather than retreat. Reinvent and plot your next move for when economics improve, recapture your lost ground.
Technology is a prime mover.
Attend: 12:30 “What if”
State of the States.
8:30 Tues Difficult financial times
12 steps
When time are tough ithelps to laugh.

Ron Van Winkle:

Libraries are key for community.
Town managers have a tough role in a downturn.
what is the difference between a town manager and a dog – if you let the dog in, he’ll stop whining.
We have lost 8 mil jobs in the last year (2 mil in 2002) Unemployment at 10% and rising.
Harshest and longest since the great depression.
W/o the stimulus package, the economy could have had and unemployment rate well into the teens.
NE is better off than the nation (NE lost 300k = 4%) in this current recession
1989-92 = biggest recession in NE, lost 600k and 10%

Recession is over – car accident scenario – in recovery – will be OK
In the meantime, conditions are harshUnemployment will continue to rise.
Borrowing fell, industrial manufacture declined, household debt fell, worst housing market, 23 trillion dollars of wealth evaporated.
Wealth to income is lowest since 1951.
We will probably need a second stimulus by extending unemployment benefits, mortgage supports, first time homebuyers credits, tax reductions, aid to state gov, new health plan, new energy policy, Bush tax cuts expire.

Local level:
Property taxes. No new building, decline in tax revenues, health care climbing. NH third highest property taxes, CT is #1, MA in top 10
Foreclosures are occurring in every town. No one wants higher property taxes
Connect and communicate to your town what library issues are:
increased need for library services in a downturn, libraries increasingly provide social services.
Make sure your community understands and values the library’s services.

Every community values the library. Be a marketer and entertainer and a financial officer – Know your budget well.
People looking to relocate to your town by buying or building houses, want to move to a town with a great library.
provides big incentive for town managers to supprt the library.

More than just a library, you are a person, you are part of the solution to the recession, identifies the town – library as the heart of the community.

What can your Friends group do for you if they arn’t providing funds for the book budget.
Beg and plead not to have a disproportionate cut to the budget come out of libraries and senior centers.

Advocacy efforts through town newspapers – local platforms.
Yahoo group
Weekly library newsletter
Quarterly print newsletter from the library
Twitter and Facebook
Word-of-mouth Tell people who come to programs to spread the word.

Making unpopular decisions in difficult “Financial Times”

Panelists:  Jen Hinderer-Library Director, Tewksbury Public Library, MA;  Ann Davis-Library Director, Stafford Library, CT; Denise van Zanten-Library Direcotr, Manchester City Library, NH


Tewksbury Public Library, MA   Ann Davis Library Director:

Front desk staff should have a few lines to express when asked about budget cuts.


Stafford Library, CT    Ann Davis-Library Director  

Selectboard recently made cuts including line items such as telephone.  Staff would have been cut more if they were not members of the union. Director suggest closing a few hours a week-but even with staff cuts, the library was not allowed to do that. Staff is becoming strained and the public has no idea. Davis did write a piece in the quarterly newsletter and she was reprimanded by town management for doing so.

Davis alleviates stress with exercise. She realizes there is not much she can do at the moment. Much of it is political. What you can do is advocate for more patrons and friends.

Manchester City Library, NH  Denise van Zanten-Library Director

City budget pays for essentials only. Trust funds pay for furniture, travel, ect.  With past budget cuts–staffing had to seriously be looked at.  Who has less impact on the patrons and where can the library save some $$. Each division head has to name someone to cut yearly if need be.  When this type of decision is made, it can very difficult to deliver this type of news to staff.

Actively advocate for your library.They try to attend as many community activities as possible. Prepare staff with information on the issues.  Budgets are stressful. As soon as figures come out-discussions do begin. She keeps chocolate and tissues available at all times. Stay in perspective.

Open to questions/comments:

Why are cuts so invisible? Making it so adds stress to staff. More the administrators make it invisible–the more cuts you will have to endure.

If you can cultivate a relationship with the local reporters–they can be of value to the library cause–they like a challenge.

It is important the manner in which you present the issues to the public. State the facts with backup material.

Drop-In Resume Review

Monday 12:30-2:30 p.m.

Bertha Chandler, Assistant Director for Human Resources at Cambridge (MA) Public Library, Patricia Banach, Director of the Eastern CT State University library, Pat Hollaway, Director of West Hartford (CT) Public Library, and Christine Donohue, founder of The Donohue Group, review your resume and make suggestions for improvements. Take advantage of this helpful session to update your resume, even if you are not currently job hunting.

Even though this was a highly personalized session based on the resumes participants brought in, I’ll post some helpful tips from the handouts given.

Personalized Resume Review from Ms. Donohue:
(Note: I am a career changer seeking a pre-professional position and my resume reflects that. Your mileage may vary.)
– Add MLIS studies, if you are working towards one.
– Don’t hesitate to add volunteer experience, especially if you are working in a library.
– Avoid overloading your resume skillset with jargon from your previous career, especially if you are apply for an entry-level/pre-professional position. Better idea: Read the job description and then “parrot” the skills required by the job onto your resume.
– Mention the career change in your cover letter.

Tips for Resumes and Cover Letters (Ms. Banach)
1) Correctly spell the name of the person to whom you are addressing your letter.
2) Tailor your cover letter to the specific job to which you’re applying. Mention the specific job title.
3) Specify how you can fulfill each of the job requirements in your cover letter.
4) If you have non-library experience, include it anyway if it shows a high level of responsibility, or management experience.
5) Apply via email and attach your resume and cover letter.
6) Follow up with a printed, signed letter and resume on good quality paper.
7) Make sure your resume looks professional.
8) Arrange your resume in chronological order.
9) If there are gaps in your resume, explain them in your cover letter.
10) The cover letter can be more than one page if there are numerous job requirements or if it’s for a senior position.
11) Do not call and follow up multiple times unless you fail to get an acknowledgement that your application was received.
12) If you’re lucky enough to get a phone or personal interview, always send a thank you note to each interviewer, preferably by mail immediately after the interview. Reiterate your interest and emphasize how much you want to work for that specific employer. Fit is important.

Cover Letters/Resumes/Interviews/Follow-up (Ms. Chandler)
– No typos
– Network for background (talk with people who know the library/organization, if possible)

In your cover letter:
– What do you know about the community and why is it a good match for you?
– What ‘added value’ you can offer
– One page
– Include references (or bring a separate page to the interview)

In your resume:
– At the beginning, list your exxperience which relates to the job for which you’re applying
– Make it simple for a reader to follow your employment history and education — explain gaps
– Make your contact information easily readable

At your interview:
– How you dress matters
– Firm handshake, sit up straight, look people in the eye, smile
– Be concise but pithy (precisely meaningful) in your answers
– Read the body language of the interviewers
– Practice ahead of time — read books, read the Internet, etc.
– Bring some written questions

– Email is ok
– Handwritten note is even better (send it after 1-2 days)

Tips from Ms. Donohue

Resume guideline document: http://www.crummer.rollins.edu/career_management/skills/resume.PDF

some not-so-obvious guidelines:

a) Remember that the resume is primarily a key to getting the attention of the employer..use it as a tickler that will set the stage for more in-depth discussions if you get an interview.
b) Learn as much as you can about the company/institution to which you are applying before submitting your resume. Incorporate this knowledge in your cover letter.
c) Look at the resume from the point of view of the prospective employer. Is there anything that would spark your interest if you were doing the hiring? Is there anything that would seem irrelevant or inappropriate?
d) Ask a colleague to review your resume and give you comments/criticisms.
e) Be neat, not cute. Negative attention is worse than no attention at all.

Additional resources:
Interviewing Styles: Tips for Interview Approaches by Nita Wilmot
Sample Interview Questions
More Sample Interview Questions (courtesy of the Boston Sunday Globe)

Looking Good on a Budget: Principles of Design for the Artistically Challenged

Monday 4:00-5:00 p.m.

With the advent of powerful, freely available graphics and desktop publishing programs, librarians can now create attractive and readable publications. Whether on a web page or in a mailing, the way your message is presented is often as important as the message itself. Darrell Eifert, from Lane Memorial Library in Hampton, NH, focuses on basic design elements, including typography, layout and placement. Learn how to license images from the new low-cost “micro stock” agencies and the basics of Open Office Draw, GIMP and Scribus. Free CDs are available for those without high speed Internet access.

– Use Flickr images (look for Creative Commons Attribute, which allows you to freely use images provided you give proper credit — 8,000,000 images available) http://www.flickr.com/creativecommons/
– Flickr is FREE – no need for professional photographers or to purchase stock images
– Sometimes purchasing images is necessary, i.e. when you have a specific idea that requires a narrowly focused, professional photograph or you need a human being in the picture (go to istockphoto — they have model releases on file)
– Can purchase images from istockphoto for $5
– Can “try before you buy” — download low-resolution, watermarked images

– Keep it simple
– No more than 2 fonts per layout
– Use serif fonts for body text
– Break large sections of text into multiple columns
– Balance columns across page so text lines up.
– More white space to enhance legibility

– Adobe Creative Suite retails for $1500
– Microsoft products retail for $500
– go to http://www.techsoup.com for savings (get MS Office for $16/workstation, minimum purchase of 5 licenses)
– or get Adobe CS3 Premium Suite for $160/yr (1 license max, there’s a waiting list)
– Most important purchase: a printer
– specs: wide carriage inkjet, capable of printing 13″x19″ borderless images on both matte and glossy paper, retails for $200-400
– his recommendation: HP OfficeJet 7000 Wideformat printer (available for $150 at staples.com)

Design Rules:
– Good design is based more on observation and analysis than it is on some vague notion of “creativity”
– Rule #1: Before anything goes on the page, decide what is most important. What single idea (or perception) do you want to communicate?
– Rule #2: Make what is most important the visual and verbal center of your project
– Rule #3: Arrange the elements in a visually pleasing layout that reinforces the central idea
– Three principles of design: composition, components, concept
– Composition: eye should move naturally from most important information to least important information

Recommended Reading:
book called Design Basics Index by Jim Krause


Photography and Image Sources:
Creative Commons Licensed Images on Flickr — http://www.flickr.com/creativecommons
Royalty Free vector clip art (15,000 images) — http://www.clker.com
Open Clip Art Library (7,000 images) — http://www.openclipart.org
IStockphoto (poster quality images for $5 each) — http://www.istockphoto.com
When you need big posters (email presenter for instructions) — http://www.mpix.com

Can request free CD-ROM of above software at deifert@hampton.lib.nh.us if you don’t have a high-speed internet connection