Library 2.0 for You (L-2-4-U)

Brian Herzog, Paige Eaton Davis, Elizabeth Thomsen

From left: Brian Herzog, Paige Eaton Davis, Elizabeth Thomsen

Program Description:

Flickr isn’t just a bird, isn’t just your NELA luncheon, and WordPress isn’t a new kitchen gadget. Find out what these things are and how these popular Web 2.0 applications (and more!) are being used in real-world libraries. L-2-4-U offers a panel of three experienced Massachusetts librarians: Paige Eaton Davis from the Minuteman Library Network, Brian Herzog from Chelmsford Public Library, and Elizabeth Thomsen of NOBLE. They share their expertise with applying Web 2.0 technologies to help promote your library’s resources, programs, and materials. The program sponsor is ITS whose business meeting is included in the program.

Elizabeth Thomsen, North Of Boston Library Exchange (NOBLE):

Elizabeth started off this panel discussion by comparing the old way of finding information to the new.

In the old days, people found information in books. Someone else decided what information was important. For example, if you were interested in Lewis Hine child labor pictures, you never saw the photos from Salem, MA in published works because they are not as interesting as some of his other photos. But if you work in Salem, you are interested in them. You can now find them as part of the Lewis Hine Project. “What’s interesting for you may not be something that’s interesting to everyone else.” Continue reading

The Vanishing Male: Guy Stuff that Lures and Hooks

Nancy Davis of the Ivy Group began her investigation of why men don’t use libraries and strategies to increase use with a caveat that she would be making gender generalizations and that some of the points raised were based on an overall view of what the research indicates, the majority of library users are women. Davis stressed that increasing male usage is an opportunity to boost card registration and circulation, increase program attendance and financial support and to connect with more community organizations. She raised an interesting point in regard to increasing financial support by stating that promoting library services, programs and collections to men would result in more men willing to vote in favor of libraries and to think of their local library as a recipient of financial donations when thinking about their family finances or estate planning.

Davis recommends giving your library the Male Appeal Test. Is your marketing material full of pictures of moms and kids? Do you have pictures of men using the library on your web site? Is your non-fiction collection outdated? What about staffing in this predominantly female profession? Do your library displays feature quilting and basketry and nothing on fishing, car repair and features on business publications? Additional suggestions include revamping programs to appeal to males such as history, world affairs and politics; scheduling storytimes for dads on nights and weekends, gaming (she cautions against writing gaming off as a teen-only activity), books clubs for men and mentoring programs. Davis’ suggestions for a plan of attack include targeting fathers, she compared men’s use of library with their approach to shopping–men don’t browse–if they aren’t going to ask for directions, we need to make sure signage is informative. Eliminate the emphasis on reading and market the full menu of library services including online resources and non-print resources and position the library as a source of information and solutions to problems, particularly in this economic climate we are in a powerful position to do so. She emphasized marketing e-resources and remote access. We now have the first generation of kids who have grown up with the internet and several generations of men who are computer savvy who would be willing to use library resources if it didn’t mean going to the library.

The presentation was followed by a discussion of what libraries are doing to lure males to their library. Some suggestions included circulating tools, posting library info at the town dump and hardware store, programs on the history of brewing, giong green and an entrepreneurial career series. One male librarian noted that libraries are stacked against men and that having males on the staff helps to bring men in.

The handout for this presentation is available on the NELA website

Drop In Demos: Games and Gaming

Jan Wilbur, Past President of NELA, tries her hand at Rock Band

Jan Wilbur, Past President of NELA, tries her hand at Rock Band

As The Clash “Should I Stay or Should I Go” and the Star Wars theme are heard in the background, members of NELA’s ITS Committee  have provided a drop-in session to demonstrate the latest in video gaming to promote this growing phenomenon of gaming in libraries. There’s a selection of Nintendo DS games and two DS devices , a PC set up with Lego Star Wars and , Mario Kart and Wii Sports, DDR and Rock Band, all set for folks to try. Surprisingly, many people visiting here are new due to this phenomenon and you can tell there are few people on the periphery just chomping at the bit to have a go–I think they’re ringers, modern day pool sharks. Games are projected on the walls and there are a total of 7 stations set up, pretty accommodating considering the size of the room. I dropped by at subsequent sessions throughout the conference and attendance was strong. Sunday’s drop in demo followed up Beth Gallaway’s early session,” Get Your Game On!” that explored the value of video gaming in libraries as well as ways libraries can develop their collections to target the gaming population. Beth’s handout from the earlier presentation is available at

News Savvy: Journalists, Citizen Journalism, & the News Consumer

How can we foster media literacy when there is more information available in more formats than at any time in history? How do we encourage responsible civic participation in the increasingly narrow space between uninformed opinion and self-serving corporate propaganda? In this session, four panelists addressed the blurry nexus between news production and news consumption in an age of scaled-back print media and ramped-up internet chatter.

Bill Densmore and Meredith McCulloch from the New England News Forum facilitated a lively discussion on cooperative ventures among public libraries and local newspapers. Editor Martin Reynolds weighed in virtually with a description of just such a venture in California, where the Oakland Tribune has opened a news desk in the West Oakland branch library in an effort to give the residents access to the media and dispel perceptions that the paper is out of touch with the lives of real people in the community it serves. And Mike LaBonte gave a fascinating presentation on Newstrust, a new online effort to connect citizens and journalists to encourage informed analysis of online journalism. Check them out!

Wikis & Zoho Creator

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Emily Belanger & Sarah Feldman

Presentation will be posted on NELA website.



A wiki is a collection of web pages that be edited by anyone with administrative permission. They promote collaboration and communication and are most popular and successful  when used for project communication and documentation. There is a trend toward replacing static web sites with wikis.

Edits are instant and use plain text instead of complicated programming language. If you can write an email you can edit a wiki.

If considering using a wiki it is best to buy wiki software; it’s relatively inexpensive. Look at for software suggestions.

A wiki offers only very basic text, ie, italics, bold, different sized fonts, and color. It will not support fancy graphics like a website does.  The focus of a wiki is on content, not looks.


Zoho Creator is a custom database creation tool. Like a wiki, it is a shared space for data, all staff can contribute and view. There is a low learning curve, and low (free) cost.

It is especially useful for keeping reference statistics.

The address is

My College Freshman is Your High School Senior

Presenter says she will prepare a LibGuide and upload it to:

Incoming college freshman have wide ranges in their information literacy (IL). Students are often unprepared for research. There is inconsistencies in abilities among classes. Some have some familiarity with evaluating resources, using databases. Others can’t find a book on the shelf. Some have library anxiety and are coming in with negative experiences from public libraries.

At Mt Wachusett (presenter’s school) librarians are trying to raise awareness among faculty of information literacy by using assessment tools developed by librarians. By doing this, faculty are more apt to talk to their classes about IL and work it into their lectures. In addition, they are more likely to invite library staff into the classroom (or arrange a library visit) to assist students. Train faculty and they will sell the product to the students. The OCLC white paper reports that students use what their faculty tell them to use.

One focus is to teach students that librarians are approachable and want to help.

Mt. Wachusett offered events for high school students taking college classes. Students came to the library, listened to the faculty talk about their expectations of students, got to look at a syllabus.

High school students are allowed to use college’s collection. Flyers were sent to high school to extend offers to do library instruction at the high schools.

There are college readiness efforts in MA via Gov. Patrick’s administration. The presenter felt librarians should try to get involved in these efforts.

When presenting to students, try to inject humor to get their attention. Working the room = good instruction.

When teaching students to authenticate their resources (who is the author, how old is the info, what are the author’s sources), choose an interesting library topic to wake the students up like urban legends. “Teaching Information Literacy: 35 Standards-based Exercises for College Students” has other good examples.

Is it necessary to teach style guides when there are tools like Easybibs, noodlebib, refworks, zotero and Facebook applications (CiteMe)? Should time be spent on other IL skills?

What type of search skills are students being taught in high school? Boolean? Natural language? Do they know anything other than Google? Try teaching them the value of taking a moment to think about their search first and to use good keywords.

Draw kids into the library with popular reading and engage them in conversation. Make use of LibGuides to help with fiction Reader’s Advisory as well as for curriculum support

Make connection with your local high school and attempt to collaborate, see what you can come up with that is right for your community.

Hot Teen Titles: Sexuality and Teen Fiction

Presenter: Amy Pattee, Simmons College GSLIS

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

2:30 – 4:00 PM

Amy started by discussing some of the issues in collection development. We often face situations where parents are concerned about what their children are reading. Part of our job is to educate people about the books in our collection and why they’re there.

How do we define sensual or sexual content in Young Adult literature? Here’s part of a quote from Patrick Jones:

“Verbal references to sexual activity, innuendo, implied sexual activity, actual activity.”

This is a huge continuum – so what do we do? We all do have different ideas about what’s appropriate.

How does this affect our library collections? Who are we serving?

What do teen readers like to read? They are difficult to stereotype. They read across all genres. Our collections need to reflect this. Young people read for a variety of reasons: to satisfy curiosity; taking part in a taboo text builds a shared experience among peers; they enjoy what they read – it makes them feel good.

Teen readers are developing a relationship with reading. The Young Adult librarian nourishes that relationship, and must provide a wide variety of materials. As adults we want freedom to read, and feel empowered to request what we want. Young people often find barriers in getting the information and reading materials they want. We need to authorize all sorts of reading experiences in how we select material. We also need to reassure them that it’s okay to not finish a book.

Collections must present a variety of choices for young people. How do we ensure a good collection to reflect what young people want? The difference between being a selector and censor is narrow. One is positive, the other is negative. The selector looks for values, strengths, and reasons to keep the book.

Example: Gossip Girl – very popular and controversial. Why is it popular? Because it’s part of the shared experience – “everyone” is reading it and/or watching the TV show. The selector asks: why do we keep this book? Just as not all adult books are of the highest literary value, we need to have books that are popular to teens that aren’t necessarily of strong literary merit.

We also need to make sure that we read the books they want so that we aren’t just dismissing them outright.

Urban Fiction/ Street Lit: enjoying a resurgence in popularity. Self-published, sold on the street about life on the street. Includes sexual content, and drug and alcohol abuse. Some feel this is dangerous to young people. But it’s popular fiction. Triple Crown publishing is a publisher of urban fiction for adults and teens. These are often very powerful critiques of society that offer a different and much needed perspective.

How do we know what books are appropriate for what readers? We can’t know. Labeling books does not work. If we want to encourage reading and library use we can’t limit it for them. Often annotated booklists (passive programming)are a way to connect books to readers. YA designation is broad – ages 12 – 18. Aspirational age is important to consider (12 year olds want to read about 14 year olds, 16 year olds want to read about 18 year olds and so on). “The right book for the right child at the right time.” This implies that there’s only one “right” book, and that we’re the ones to decide what the right book is.

We need to be reading ourselves and talking to young people about what they like to read.

In summary, we need to be aware of what books are popular with teen readers, understand why they want to read them, and make sure that the books they want are accessible to them.