Hot Topics in Technical Services

Program Description: Hot Topics in Technical Services – 10/20/08 – 3:30 – 4:30 pm

This NETSL panel offers a peek into the coming changes in technical services. Diane Baden from
Boston College provides an update on RDA as it nears publication and discusses what it will mean
for you. Daniel Joudry from Simmons College describes what he sees on the horizon for technical
services. Bring your thoughts and questions.

Impressions –

Diane Baden gave one of the better quick and dirty RDA updates that I’ve had the pleasure of sitting in on. It would be easy to try and talk about everything, but she held back. For example, she chose not to try and tackle FRBR in the discussion or every single hot button article that’s been published. It really allowed for the point to get across. It’s still coming, we just don’t know when or exactly what’s going to happen. In the face of that, here’s some ways you can prepare to receive it. Her conference slides are available on the NELA website.

Daniel Joudry totally threw me for a loop. I always go to the hot topics in tech services type discussion at every conference I go to, and it’s the same old stuff. Then he came out swinging about the quality, breadth, and availability of cataloger education in LIS programs. I’ve heard murmurs and grumbling about this over the years, but it was so refreshing to have someone focus on it and really address the issue. As a recent graduate, it really gave me some insight into that MLS element of the process, and maybe, just maybe, made me want to further my education as a cataloger so that I might be qualified to teach.

RDA Update – Diane Baden

When she planned this, we all thought RDA was supposed to be out, and of course, it isn’t. Really it’s about getting ready for it whenever it comes. Updates are found on the Joint Steering Committee website as well as practical foundations. The dates have changed constantly, but scope and vision can be found here.

RDA is trying to be for the digital environment what AACR2 was for the card environment. Of course, the digital environment is so constantly changing that the product of RDA is often behind the 8 ball. Plus, RDA is designed to be usable outside the library community which causes delays, as will happen with a collaborative project.

RDA is designed to be compatible with AACR2, and some would say too compatible, so much so that it may not be transformative enough. So that begs the question, what would be the point of changing to one over another at this time and stage of development? This is the crux of what is going on with RDA all the time, there are vocabulary changes which are truly different and some say it is a just renaming without redoing. The slides illustrate some of the differences that really distinguished them.

RDA is not a book. No one has seen the whole thing because the delivery method is the web, and before the web product comes out, then we can’t see how it all works. It is not meant to be a start to finish read, but full of examples and workflows and truly part of the web as a WEB.

RDA is content only and meant to follow FRBR/FRAD. This way the influence is on what things are and how they relate, not how we make it display or how we choose input the data. It is format independent and based on cataloger judgment, so it will not be a prescriptive

MARC is a dinosaur and we will likely move away from it. There is a working group about MARC and how it relates to RDA, but they are not organically linked.

When the first draft comes out (this was supposed to happen last week), there will be a very brief beta period where it will be free to try, but controlled. Then they may release it in early next year and LC and the other National Libraries involved will decide whether to implement it. The US is not fully on board, but the other national libraries are committed to implementation.

FRBR: A Guide for the Perplexed by Robert Maxwell is a very good newer book on FRBR and we all need to get to know FRBR because that is future of cataloging. AUTOCAT, RADCAT, RDA-L are all good listservs to get info on any of these topics.

LIS Cataloger Education – Daniel Joudry

In 2004, Michael Gorman made proclamations about Library School Education (Michael Gorman, “Whither Library Education?” New Library World 105 (2004): 376- 380) Who is going replace the retirees once they leave and all the newbies come along with no real, practical library education? He pushes for a core curriculum and believes cataloging is the heart of the library process. Some LIS educators, predictably, got their dander up at being told they weren’t doing their jobs and turning out unprepared LIS graduates. Also, people seem to want us to be co-opted by computer science…wanting librarians to know things like java scripting as a basic skill and other things for the Information Technology element of the career. They want this to be core, not cataloging and reference

2006 – Diana Markum (sp?) – cataloging education is not standardized across curriculums. Shift from cataloging to organization information. Also, faculty and positions in cataloging are shrinking, so the pool of qualified applications is shrinking. If the educational programs don’t stay up to date with the market, then the students will not be ready to take a career.

Recommendations: ALA should meet with educators to discuss standards and recommendations. Demonstrate the level of demand for these professionals as well as the presence of qualified professionals. Core levels of knowledge for Information Organization broadly and not just in libraries, support doctoral research. LC supports all of these recommendations, ALISE has not responded but to be fair, they weren’t invited to the party.

2008 Joudry’s New Article on the subject is loaded with stats and I didn’t write them all down here (“Another Look at Graduate Education for Cataloging and the Organization of Information.” Cataloging & Classification Quarterly 46, no. 2 (2008)). What’s happening in the schools. 20% increase in bibliographic control classes since 2000, but half of them fall outside of traditional cataloging classes. Metadata courses fall under this umbrella. 1 in six courses are not being taught even though they’re on the menu. It’s not as bad as we think when you look at the statistics, but it still isn’t good. The schools are all over the map regarding how and what they require. There are a lot of broad ideas and foundations, but students are leaving school not capable of cataloging anything in actuality unless they take it upon themselves to get that education. Those broad strokes can be great, but basic principles are not good enough and there’s not enough out there for students. Traditional cataloging is disappearing from formal LIS education. Advanced cataloging, non-book cataloging, subject analysis, indexing are not being offered as much if at all.

Lack of human resources is huge for schools right now. Hiring more adjuncts is key but professionals have their own careers and the pay isn’t good. New cataloging professors would be great, but there are only a handful of PhD’s who will be prepared to teach traditional cataloging and many schools are settling folks who are just good enough.

We need to get new cataloging blood. We need to sell the vitality and worth, the heart of the profession, and get involved with schools and further scholarship.

Q & A

Q – At the OLAC conference Heidi Hoermann did a talk on RDA and said that might it go away and AACR3 will prevail. What do you think?

A – There are mighty financial parties pushing RDA along, and the US is not buying it hook line and sinker. NLM is exceedingly skeptical. Hard to imagine it won’t happen but many people wish it would go away.

Q – After Danny published his article on cataloging standards; did he get a response from Gorman?

A – He has on past articles, but not on the latest one (yet).

Q/Opinion – Libraries are trying to shift training to the schools, but library school is not the only answer. It’s a piece of the puzzle and the schools should not need to be all things to all people.

A – Agreed to a large degree, but on the other hand, there needs to be a better foundation and opportunity to learn more. It should happen on the job, but how when there are no qualified catalogers left.

Q – One of the advantages of RDA is supposed to be that someone not trained in RDA can use it, but if that manifests then what happens to Traditional Cataloging?

A – Catalogers for the higher level work…original collections, metadata development, and automate the copy cataloging and such. There is going to be huge gap between the higher level work and the people trained to do it. RDA can be customized and simplified, but it is attempting to be all things to all people. Descriptive cataloging may diminish, but there is a huge need for better subject analysis. Elements of cataloging are in greater need as others are evolving into something else.

The Internet Is NOT Flat

Ethan ZuckermanTuesday, 8:30 – 10:00

Ten years ago, 70 million people used the Internet. Today, there are more than 1.2 billion people online, and that number is still growing. As projects like One Laptop Per Child come to fruition, we can imagine a future where it’s possible to talk to almost anyone, anywhere in the world. But what will we say to one another? Ethan Zuckerman, cofounder of Global Voices, offers a tour of the globalized Internet, looking at ways in which users around the world are connecting – and frequently misunderstanding one another. Along the way we meet Nigerian spammers, Saudi feminists, Tunisian mapmakers and Chinese gold-farmers, as we discover the tools and guides necessary to navigate this growing new world. The program is sponsored by ITS.

Presentation slides:

Geeks and librarians share a connection – we both work on creating and sharing information.

One exciting type of information is the kind that cuts across borders to connect cultures and building cultural bridges.

1980’s arena rock and roll

If you were a rock star in the 1980s, your life was really good 20 years ago – and now you’re hoping something will take you back to that. But if your band doesn’t have it’s lead singer anymore, what do you do?

Watch videos on YouTube, looking for a really good cover band. When you find one, contact the person that posted the video and then get in touch with the singer.

This happened with Journey, after a Journey song was used in the final episode of The Sopranos. The lead guitarist wanted to go back on tour, and the singer he found was in the Philippines (but try telling this story to the government officials who issue visas to come to the US – he had to actually sing to prove it was true). Journey is now out on tour with this Filipino lead singer.

Why is this surprising?

Our world is such that this is possible. We laugh because it is unlikely, but it is possible because we are connected like never before.

It is not at all uncommon to buy bottled water from Fiji in any convenience store, or getting imported food is just about any restaurant. Competition, especially in the technology world, is often not from companies in the same town or region, but in India.

It’s our infrastructure that allows this – shipping channels, undersea cables, airline routes, etc. Despite these established connections, we often do it poorly.

Mike Berry, aka Shiver Metimbers, has been responding to all of the Nigerian scam emails he gets. His goal is to get them back by doing whatever he can to waste their time. He tells them he is a television producer talent scout, and tells them that he can fund them to come to the US to appear on television if they put an audition video of themselves doing Monty Python’s Dead Parrot Sketch. Or he offers a scholarship for wood carving, and makes them send him intricate wood carvings. Or he tells them he is in a church to “shivers” and to be admitted and brought to the US if they send him a photograph of themselves getting a tattoo that says “Baited by Shivers.” He justifies this because these Nigerians are taking advantage of people, but their greed is causing them to comply with him voluntarily.

This is a modernized version of the “Spanish Prisoner Scam.”
It only works if

  • someone thinks they can get something for nothing
  • it comes from a culture the target thinks is corrupt

The problem is that this caused people to want to have nothing at all to do with Nigeria – to the point where they block their websites and domains from Nigeria IPs. Which essentially means we have started “unwiring” the world.

This desire for cultural connection started with Socrates – he said he was not a citizen of Athens, but a citizen of the world.

Book suggestion: Cosmopolitanism, by Kwame Anthony Appiah. He talks about bridge cultures by explaining why we’re bad at it. We’ve only been doing this for the last couple hundred years, and up until that point we really only got to know the people immediate around us. It’s only for the last few generations that we’ve had experience in getting to know people from totally different cultures.

But we still view the world through filters. Nigeria has about as many people as Japan, but Americans pay much more attention to Japan – about 8 times more (as far as news stories). This produces a distorted view of the world.

Alisa Miller of PRI has begun to look at how distorted our world view is based on media stories. She has started to make cartagrams, which are maps with countries sized by media coverage.

Another player in this are tools like – it’s a social website where users rank news stories, so you can see what’s important to other people like you. This is called homophily, which is the tendency of birds of a feather to flock together. As we become more mobile and travel around the world, we find we are still gravitating towards people already like us.

This causes us to become more polarized to our individual groups, because we are only listening to people with our same point of view. This is the “echo chamber” effect.

This is a problem with people, but is much more a problem with nations.

New York Times as an example of Persuasive Technology

  • paper edition: 25 stories on front page, with about 200+ words each
  • online edition: 300 stories, with about 20 words each

In print, they try to entice you to open the paper. Online, they trust you to know what you want and find it yourself.

Serendipity – we are able to stumble into things or discover connections that are otherwise unavailable. This is not randomness, this is giving people opportunities. Library shelves are like this – related books are put together.

How is this replicated online? Create tools that allow connections between cultures, and are not echo chambers – they bring in related information from different areas and viewpoints, to bridge these connections.

These overt connections and cooperation are vital to solve problems in the modern world, because there are many subtle and complex connections that we don’t recognize. The housing crisis in the US affected Iceland, which affected mainland Europe because many of them used Icelandic banks. The first approach to a solution was for each government to work separately, but nothing got better until the governments cooperated and worked in concert to address the problem.

To do this, we need to get past our filters – read newspapers and blogs from other cultures (and get someone to translate why these stories are important to the people there).

Blogs and bloggers are great ways to build bridges. Bloggers are people (egomaniacs), and like to talk about and share their blogs and information with anyone who contacts them.

To get better globally, we need to look for tools that help us get past this. One Laptop Per Child is one tool that lets kids in Nigeria not just connect to other cultures, but contribute to the global culture.

We also need to engineer serendipity, to give people the opportunity to stumble upon the information they need that they didn’t know they need.

We need to get people out of their flocks once in awhile.

We need to be more xenophily.

Don’t stop believing.

Ethan Zuckerman


Can you tell us more about Global Voices?
Check out – it is our aggregator for world news. Paid editors (about $800/month) recruit a team of people to cover what’s doing on in a particular country. We collect news in about 25 languages, and put out stories in about 15 languages.

What does the CIA think of Global Voices?
Originally (when lots of stories were about North Korea), the server stats showed that 12% of traffic was coming from .mil sites. Now, the government is coming around to the idea that valuable information and intelligence can come from blogs

What’s the future of the media?
The media is driven by following cycles and trends, and not reporting necessarily on news. However, they are responding to what the public wants, so it’s not entirely their fault. What we need to do is learn what we should be paying attention to, and then the media will respond with these important stories. We know so little to start with (outside our echo chambers) so people don’t know what to look for.

Were you involved with OLPC, and how is it working?
I’m friends with Nicholas Negroponti (founder, at MIT), and we argue a lot about it. He wants to change the education systems in developing nations. The problem is it was marketed as the $100 laptop, but ended up being $250. Also, educators hated it – they were distractions in the classroom, and kids liked them more than paying attention to teachers, and teachers were not trained to teach with them. This is because they were developed and launched without cultural sensitivity to how they would be used in these environments.

Can you talk more about building serendipity into library websites?
My “engineer serendipity” call was a cry for help. Amazon is doing this really well, with their purchase circles (what are people in my town buying – try to figure out why). It’s tricky online, because there is no rigorous definition for it. It needs to be both surprising and interesting, so needs to be related to connect in some way, but not something you already know about. A lot of computer systems are based on ratings. LibraryThing has the unsuggester, which is a unique approach to it. Sometimes the best we can do is go for “arbitrariness within context,” and just see what happens and hope for the best.

Music Is More than Melody

 Ellen Hoffman

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


(Look for handouts on the NELA webpage)


Ellen first started her program with parents, then with preschool teachers, and is relatively new to libraries.  It started with parents saying that they couldn’t do music with their children because they “can’t sing.”  Actually, language is rhythmic, so if you can talk, you can break it down into song. 


She suggests that libraries have sets of instruments – not a box of one of each.  Choose 2 or 3 instruments, and then have several of each.  This avoids dissension among the group, and gives children a sense of how that instrument sounds.  It makes it easier for them to follow along with the song.  She uses Rhythm Band Instruments.


Rhythm and Language: Start out by finding out children’s names. She then claps their names, demonstrating its unique rhythm.  She makes a chant as she claps out each child’s name.  This is a pre-reading skill to learn that words break down into parts.  You can do this with a lot of things – animals, food, etc…  When doing Stone Soup ask children to put food in the pot and when they say the name of the food, they find its rhythm. Books that are good for this: Mary Wore a Red Dress (and Harry wore his Red Sneakers.  It can be turned into a chant.  Where Does the Brown Bear Sleep? She looks for books with a rhythmic refrain, or one word that repeats.  She also likes books that might identify notes on the scale – words go up, and words go down. Books with different characters can be given voices with different instrumental voices (kind of like Peter and the Wolf).


Using Instruments:  (Most of the information in this section is on the handout).  Show children an instrument, and asks “If you didn’t know what this was, how would you use this?”   Example: rhythmic sticks. “How are they alike?” “How are they different?”  “What can you make out of them?” “Hammer and nail.” “Rolling pin.”   “Oars.”  “Ski poles.”   Triangles lead to discussion of three – triceratops which leads to stegosaurus which has scales that look like triangles, which leads to discussing a waltz beat.  She also uses pom poms, which are not technically an instrument, but do make a sound.  Look at instruments, think about all the sounds they can make and apply to a storytime.


Movement: Children tend to feel music with their whole bodies.  Try to engage their bodies as you do rhymes, chants and songs.  You can do this by having them rock back and forth as they chant.


Sound Awareness: This is a pre-reading skill.  She does a chant of What Sounds Do Different Things Make?  For example, “What does a clock say?”  TICK tock, TICK tock.


Ellen encourages librarians to have fun with sound and music, you don’t have to have formal musical training to do this; just listen for rhythm and sound and incorporate this during your storytimes.  Also, children are active listeners, playing a part in storytime and hearing the rhythm of the language.


A few suggested CDs to use with instruments:

David Polansky

Parachute Express


Sharon, Lois and Bram

Laurie Berkner

Libraries Prosper with Passion, Purpose and Persuasion!

Discussion group ffacilitated by Cheryl Bryan from Southeast Massachusetts Library System beginning with introduction of the PLA advocacy toolkit. The toolkit is a road map to present your library effectively to your community.  There is a difference between public relations, advocacy and marketing. Marketing involves a transaction-such as increase circulation. Public relations is networking. Advocacy is getting the vote out.

Who needs to advocate: Everyone-staff, trustees, volunteers, and patrons. Remember one negative comment is usually repeated twenty times. Libraries need to really look at partnering with other organizations.

Passion is important when advocating for your library. Go over this toolkit with your board and staff so they are informed and passionate about it as well. Speak to the heart. What a value the library is to the community.  Cheryl suggest “treating everyone you meet at the library as if you may be the only person they see that day-you may be”.

With the current economy-loss of jobs-the library can step in working with partners to offer help to job seekers.  Look at your demographics.  Use  Define savings and benefits to the community for each service. Target your advocacy. Don’t forget to ask exactly what you are looking for from those you are targeting. Have a sense of who you are talking to.

Strategies: match with your audience. Develop talking points. Ask staff what questions they are getting-make sure they have talking points to these questions.

Evaluate at the end of your effort-what/where worked-important

The toolkit may be purchased at:

$100 – ALA members $90


What are others doing:

Suggestions for how to handle increase in budget request: Put petition on front desk. Focus on having a credible informed speaker. Keep in mind that many library supports are financially unable to support increases-we need to reach the non-library people as well. Acknowledge the economic times-make clear the benefits.

Suggestion: Do not overlook your local barbershops and hairdressers-that is where people are talking.  Pinpoint where people are gathering and forming opinions in your community.

Shortfall Revenue: Not enough money coming in to support the community services. What do you do? Maybe it is good to advocate for the community as a whole-not just the library. Go to meetings-they talk and think differently when you are sitting in the room.  Important-just show up!

Handouts from this workshop will be available on the NELA website.

“Graphic” Non-Fiction

Program Desription:

They are definitely “graphics” but they definitely are not novels. Non-fiction in the graphic format is a growing trend and can engage readers who might reject other non-fiction. Two Rhode Island young adult librarians, Robin Lensing of Pawtucket Public Library and Ed Fuqua from Woonsocket Harris Public Library, discuss the advantages of adding non-fiction to your graphic collection. The program is sponsored by NERTCL.

Monday, 3:30-5 p.m.

Robin Lensing and Ed Fuqua

From left: Robin Lensing and Ed Fuqua

Lensing and Fuqua went through an extensive list of titles for non-fiction graphic novels that a library could add to its collection. I will post a link to the list here as soon as it is available on the NELA Web site.

Fuqua noted that the popularity of graphic novels is really huge right now. Public reception of graphic novels is greater now than it ever has in history. Every major publisher has a graphic novel in print.

While showing Beowulf by Gareth Hinds (Candlwick, 2007), Lensing said, “how hard is it to get kids interested in Beowulf?” If a kid needs to read Beowulf, the graphic novel may have more appeal than other versions.

On the other hand, Fuqua said the graphic version of the 9/11 Report gives faces to the people who died in the attack. It can bring it alive for kids.

Question from audience: Are these really graphic “novels”? Since they are non-fiction, should they be called “novels?”

It doesn’t matter if it’s fiction or non-fiction. The format is graphic novels, even if it is non-fiction.

But this raised the question of where you should shelve your graphic non-fiction.

“You should put things where you think your readers will find them,” Fuqua said.

Some titles are put in fiction, others are put in non-fiction.  It doesn’t matter to our patrons. It matters to librarians.

A person in the audience said her library puts all its graphic novels together. It doesn’t separate fiction from non-fiction.

Lensing, referring to a graphic novel about the Holocaust said, the benefit of putting it in non-fiction is that a child researching the Holocaust may come across the graphic novel.

Fuqua added that several titles on the list don’t have popular appeal. They may work better with non-fiction books.

Lensing also saw potential for working with these non-fiction graphic novels in school. What would be great, she said, if you’re working in a school is if you can get teachers to encourage students to write graphic novels. If they can see that graphic novels can be different than Spiderman, it may inspire them in a different direction.

It Takes a Community: The CLOCKSS Initiative

Program Description:

How will you ensure researchers have access to electronic content in the future? What happens when journals get sold or lost in the shuffle of a merger? These questions vex librarians and publishers alike, but CLOCKSS has answers. CLOCKSS (Controlled Lots of Copies Keep Stuff Safe) is a community-wide endeavor built upon the widely-used LOCKSS system. Victoria Reich, Director of the LOCKSS Program at Stanford (CA) University, explains how they are working to guarantee long-term access to digital materials, regardless of ability to pay. The New England Technical Service Librarians section (NETSL) and the North American Serials Interest Group (NASIG) co-sponsor the program.

Monday, 8:30- 10

When libraries first started subscribing to more and more databases with licensed periodical content, I remember a lot of discussion about whether libraries should keep subscribing to the print version of a periodical. What would happen if the vendor stopped licensing the content from a periodical?  Many libraries have dramatically cut back on their serials subscriptions as they rely more heavily on the licensed content from their database vendors. But, if budget cuts make them curtail their database subscriptions or if a vendor severs a relationship with a publisher, that content is lost to the library. With the print subscriptions, that content remained with the library long after the subscription was canceled.

The LOCKSS and CLOCKSS intiatives have separate ways of addressing this issues. LOCKSS (Lots of Copies Keep Stuff Safe) tries to replicate the print serials subscription model by providing a way for libraries to store the content provided by a database vendor on a server, called a LOCKSS box. According to Reich, LOCKSS allows libraries to build local collections. They take local control of content from the Web and download it to a LOCKSS box. It’s preserved and you have 100% perpetual access.

CLOCKSS, on the other hand, is a dark archive of material built on the underlying LOCKSS technology. Nobody can access the content in a CLOCKSS box until it is no longer available through any publisher.

Reich said Stanford University and the other institutions involved are committed to these initiatives because they believe library collections are the key to democracy. Libraries are important to democracies, and collections are critical to libraries. “What keeps the group going at Stanford is the fact that we believe libraries situated in communities that have collections are central to core democracy.”

She started her presentation by talking about CLOCKSS. Continue reading

Leading Change

What’s the first word you think of when someone says “change”? “Work,” “new,” “challenge,” “fun,” “opportunity,” “panic,” and “painful” were some of the participants’ answers in this workshop, facilitated by library consultant Maureen Sullivan. Sullivan led the audience through several exercises designed to determine their change style, perceptions of change, and level of comfort with change while sharing insights from current management literature.

Some of Sullivan’s guidelines for effective self-management of change:

1. Identify the changes you want, write them down, and create an action plan.

2. When you find yourself resisting change, ask yourself why, and continue asking until you identify a credible answer.

3. Associate with, and learn from, those who welcome change.

4. Learn to accept ambiguity and respond positively to uncertainty.

5. Adopt “learning as a way of being.” Be curious; see change as a discovery process that offers opportunities.

6. Identify threats and confront your fears.

7. Pay attention to what is going on around you; be alert to trends and developments in the external environment.

8. Technology is changing constantly; keep up with new developments.

9. Identify the new competencies you will need and develop them.

10. Focus on your strengths and ways that you can contribute to the success of any change effort.

11. Speak up. Offer your ideas and opinions. Disagree constructively.

12. Listen to understand.

13. Assume responsibility for your performance and for your own learning and development.

Recommended Reading:

Managing Transitions: Making the Most of Change by William Bridges
Transitions: Making Sense of Life’s Changes by William Bridges
The Heart of Change Field Guide: Tools and Tactics for Leading Change in Your Organization by Dan S. Cohen
Crazy Busy: Overstretched, Overbooked, and About to Snap by Edward M. Hallowell, M.D.
Our Iceberg is Melting by John Kotter
The Power of Full Engagement by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz
Becoming a Resonant Leader by Annie McKee et al.

NERTCL Luncheon with Cynthia Lord

We all know that books are powerful. They can entertain, illuminate, broaden horizons, enrage, inspire, etc. Sometimes a carefully disguised book jacket actually contains a literary hand-hold or a hug. Rules is an inspirational story of humanity that is funny, poignant, and heartwarming.  You feel fortunate to have found it…and if you are a book lover you’ll probably do everything you can to share it.  I read Cynthia Lord’s book Rules when it was first released in 2006.  And I feel like I have been giving it to people ever since.  Rules is the story of a twelve-year-old girl Catherine who struggles to balance her love for her autistic brother David and her longing for a “normal” existence.


This beautifully crafted story has captured the hearts of so many readers and award committees across the country. It was a pleasure to hear Cynthia Lord describe how her family experience inspired her to write the book, the process of bringing the book to print and the warm reception it has received over the years.  Success could not have found a nicer person or a more deserving title. 

Library as Commons

Presented by Cheryl Bryan, SEMLS

Monday, October 20 11:30

Presentation available at:

It’s not news that many public libraries are experiencing or anticipating budget cuts. With this current bleak state of the economy in mind, libraries have to do a better job of explaining to the public how the services we offer are going to improve the impact of the library on the community.

It is important that each library align itself with community values. Be aware of demographics and specific needs; make changes to reflect these needs.

In both public and academic settings people use the library as a place to see and be seen. Sometimes, interaction with library staff is the only personal interaction a patron will participate in that particular day. Staff should always be welcoming.

Public libraries should reach out to other community agencies and collaborate on services. We see this happening in academic setting with librarians imbedded into specific departments and reference librarians teaching classes. Public libraries should learn from models of academic libraries – they almost always have cafes and study rooms.

“If you offer wi-fi and coffee they will come!”

Examples of library as commons from audience members: Homework center for tutoring and homeschooling; lecture series; one-on-one computer tutorials; ESL classes; conversation circles.

Pay close attention to what your library looks like from the outside…is it tidy? Is your signage appropriate, with good design? Is is properly located in the building? There should be a strong sense of arrival as soon as a patron walks into the building.

There should be comfortable seating for a variety of activities. Pay attention to patrons who move library furniture around – they are telling you something! Maybe their configuration works better.

Children’s service areas need to be thought of as family zones with seating for all ages. Keep in mind that we expect parents to stay with their children in these areas so they should be given comfortable seating options.

Make zones in the library for quiet reading areas and areas for group activities. Use the natural sound barrier of books to insulate the quiet areas.

Think about how users receive and process information. Public libraries will inherit academic library users – they will expect the same types of services, ie IM reference.

Marketing on a Shoestring: Fifty Nifty Thrifty Ways

Presentation available at
Username = NELA, Password =NELA

Tough times = increased library use, but don’t neglecting marketing just because people are coming in more
Even though many libraries do not have a line item in their budgets for marketing, no library is too small to market
We took a look at excuses people use to not market including not knowing how to start, what to do, and how to handle the increased numbers if it worked.

Starting Out:

  • When you are small (or non-profit), the public is more apt to cut you some slack and are not expecting all the bells and whistles.
  • Plan first. Develop a strategic marketing plan before you start then decide what type of efforts it will take to make that happen. Be sure the plan includes how you are going to measure success. You need to be able to know if your efforts are working.
  • Good doesn’t mean expensive, but you may have to spend some $ so present your plan to the trustees and try to sell them on the idea of allotting funds for these efforts.

Don’t lose ground by disappearing when market gets tough. Get out and show how you are useful, what services you provide that are valuable to the public

No Nos of Library Marketing:

  • Mass marketing is not cost effective
  • Don’t focus on just one segment of your community. Look at teens, business owners, parents, ESL etc. Each specific segment has its own needs and you should try to speak to each individually
  • Do not rely on one medium. Go outside newspapers, less than 30% of public reads print newspapers. Use of multiple media is a must. Branch out and get your message to community
  • Test, then roll. Don’t mail the entire city a promotion. Start with 1/5 and look at results. Then decide if it’s worth it to continue. Saves paper and postage that way.
  • Don’t look cheap. Whatever you do, do it well. If it looks unprofessional, you do your institution a disservice
  • Inconsistent branding. The community needs to be able to readily identify your promotions.
  • Not counting staff time as $. Staff time is not free. Sometimes outsourcing is cheaper than overloading staff
  • Use caution when dealing with donations. Some come with prohibitive strings and restrictions or barter agreements that do not benefit your library in the long run. Look at value, not price A one time radio spot is not the same thing as an actual campaign. If there is no sustainability then it may not be worth it to start?

Ways to Market Your Library (highlights)

  • Good marketing always gets measured so build measurements into every marketing initiatives. Ask “How did you hear about this?” and record how much $ was raised, etc.
  • One message will not resonate with everyone. Identify a need of each segment of the population then target that group. This means mapping your population by looking at the census and getting to know all of the various groups in town (government, religious groups, schools, civic organizations), identifying those who can help introduce you to the populations you are targeting
  • Use stories/testimonials in your marketing like getting someone medical information or helping someone with a job search
  • Double duty rule: Look for marketing ideas that support multiple strategic goals. If you want to support both early childhood literacy and teen programming, try a program where teens act as reading buddies to younger kids
  • Your next customer is your current customer. Talk up new services to your current patrons. Are they story time parents that might benefit from one of your databases?
  • Make friends and trustees ambassadors of the library. They should know your services and be voices in the community.
  • Recruit marketing talent in community to be on the board or to otherwise volunteer time
  • Create a quality library presentation and go out and talk about it out in the community. Let them know what we can do for them. Try school board meetings, rotary, chamber of commerce, etc.
  • Get your info inserted in church, school newsletters, that of other city departments. See if you can get a flyer in the mailings sent out by other groups. Try to develop a relationship with the schools to make use of things like internal TV, newsletters, back to school nights, etc. Place ads in the yearbook and school play programs.
  • Use local celebrities in PR events and marketing campaigns like the mayor or fire chief
  • Get customer input before investing in wide scale production
  • Treat website as a virtual branch. Use it to promote e-resources & serve more people without more staff
  • Participate in community events like parades and town fairs
  • All communications should market a program or service. Create reader’s advisory bookmarks for patrons Solicit marketing support from vendors.
  • Provide local newspapers with book reviews
  • Draw the public into your space by inviting schools to display kids’ artwork or the public to display their old photos.
  • Train staff re: marketing. Ask circ staff to will hand out reader’s advisory or to talk up new services. Have materials handy to give out on various services
  • Solicit corporate support to cover the cost of promotional materials
  • Staff and trustees should have business cards. Hand them to potential supporters. Use both sides of the business card, back side for services
  • Incorporate return-on-investment statements into your annual report. Ex. Summer reading program helped 500 children retain their reading skills.
  • Remind callers of upcoming programs
  • Co-develop materials with other libraries to save staff time
  • Identify longtime card holders or frequent reader and reward them with something. Gift certificate to local store, button, tote bag