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.

Easy Web Fixes

Lichen RancourtMonday, 11:00 – 12:30

Does your web site need an extreme makeover? Would you like to add Web 2.0 functionality? Is your budget for web development somewhere between miniscule and negligible? Get practical advice from Lichen Rancourt, who was responsible for bringing the Manchester (NH) City Library web site to a whole new level. Her step-by-step review offers guidance that shows you how to make changes that will bring positive feedback from your community.
Presentation slides:

The original website used static html, and had grown organically (as of 7/07). It wasn’t dynamic, but does give a good introduction to the website.

Updating was difficult, because everything had to be coded by hand. The overall desires of website improvements were to:

  • bring the website more inline with the vibrant and robustness of the actual library and services
  • make it easier to update (focus more on content, and not coding).
  • make it useful and interesting on a daily basis, like the actual library
  • provide a sense of community, like the actual library
  • make the website’s content portable, so it works on mobile devices as well as computers

Easy to maintain

Need to focus on content, so the staff can show patrons, through the website, how active and vital the library is.

  • Created a account for the library, and uploaded photos they already had (and joined flickr groups for Manchester and New Hampshire
  • Use flickr badge to automatically display photos on the website
  • By using flickr, all the content is managed through their interface, which is much easier to handle than coding
  • Flickr generates the code for you, and you paste it into your website where ever you want it
  • Having patrons sign release forms is a good courtesy, but only legally required for kids

Expose library resources

  • Our collection is our heart and soul, so we need to et it out there
  • Let patrons search catalog, determine availability, view accounts, and renew materials
  • All ILSs should allow for this, so talk to vendors or other libraries using that same ILS to find out how
  • Once you get the code, just paste it into your website where you want it

Interact with patrons

  • Promote your librarians – this is what amazon and google do not have
  • Started a blog with wordpress to give librarians a voice, and personalize the website – like the library is personal
  • Make sure whatever blog you use provides rss feeds and allows comments
  • How to get the blog info into the website? Used feedburner to generate code to paste into the website where they wanted it to display. Doing this keeps the blog information within the context of the website, instead of making patrons go somewhere else, and you also get lots of options and stats


  • Since wordpress allows patrons to comment on posts, using feedburner to import post to website also allows patrons comment to display on website. If your posts are interesting and useful, people will participate
  • Flickr also supports comments
  • Once you start doing this, make sure you keep it new and updated, because if a photo sits too long, people get tired of it – always think sustainability
  • Using Google Calendars to display library events – this provides a feed to embed in the website, and also lets patrons to sign up for feeds to be delivered as rss or have it sent right to their own Outlook calendar using the iCal format

Life Integration

  • Letting patrons use this information the way they want to use it
  • This is important because even if you don’t know what rss is or use it at all, chances are you have patrons that do
  • Feedburner lets patrons subscribe to the various feeds, and they can check them in an rss reader or have updates emailed right to them

So what’s next?

  • Everything shown here can be done in a day
  • More complex additions could be migrating to a new platform (which is easier to do once the content is separated from the code), YouTube, Twitter, etc.
  • But no matter what you consider, the website will only be as good and the content that YOU generate


What software do you use to maintain your website?
It is Novus, and is mandated by the City of New Hampshire

Do you moderate comments?
Yes, on the blog, but we’ve never gotten an inappropriate comment. WordPress also notifies us when comments are held for moderation, so there is very little delay between patron submission and librarian approval. Can also use filters to approve automatically based on language or users

Do you get a lot of spam comments?
Yes. WordPress has a spam filter which works well, but is not 100% flawless

How much time do you spend on a daily basis doing this?
Most of my time is spent cajoling the staff to write for the blog. But when I do it, I try to think of it as if I am speaking to someone a cross the desk – make it short (two paragraphs) and useful. For flickr pictures, it’s maybe 5-10 minutes a day.

Is google calendar your only calendar?
No, google calendar is just for promoting events on the website. We also use Library Insight for meeting room management and reservations

Does wordpress do calendars?
It is possible, but that is a bit beyond an “easy web fix”

Are these feeds all or nothing feeds?
No, most let you filter based on tags, dates, or other criteria, so you can have a flickr badge just for childrens events, or just for a particular branch

How do you know how many people use this?
Feedburner gives us stats, but we also use Google Analytics for website stats

Marketing on a Shoestring: Fifty Nifty Thrifty Ways

Nancy DavisMonday, 8:30 – 10:00

Shoestring, pittance, trifling amount, tight budget, wing and a prayer, next to nothing, scratch, chickenfeed, small potatoes. What librarian hasn’t had to do more with less? Come to collect some great ideas for marketing your library on a shoestring, presented by Nancy Davis, partner in The Ivy Group. She has 20 years of experience helping organizations – both large and small – achieve their goals by implementing innovative, cost-effective ideas that maximize resources.

Presentation Slides:

Marketing in a down economy is more important that ever.

Our first inclination is to look at the budget and cut marketing. But the public needs to be aware of our services, because this is when we help the public the most.

Difference between “branding” and “marketing”
Branding: the uber-image of the library
Marketing what you do to make people aware of your image

Opposition to marketing:

  • The library is “too small” to market itself
  • What’s the point? We can’t compete with Borders or Amazon
  • It won’t work, and how could we even tell?
  • It might work too well and we’ll be overrun


  • People don’t expect library marketing to be slick and perfect
  • It’s generally better to do something rather than nothing
  • “Good” doesn’t mean expensive
  • Marketing does work, but you need a plan, and need to support it
  • It will cost some money
  • Not marketing will cause the library to lose ground in the minds of our investors (voters and tax payers) – especially important is to market the services that will appeal to patrons in bad economic times

What not to do

  • Mass-marketing – it’s not targeted, and that’s what we want (libraries should have a focused message); it’s also usually done through one channel (libraries need to use a broad range of medium to get the message out)
  • “Rolling before testing” – make sure you test your message first, otherwise it could look cheap, inconsistent, confusing, or waste money. Try your marketing on a small group to see how it works
  • Forgetting to include staff time in the bottom line – staff time is money
  • Barter – people will try to give you things for free in exchange for something else, but this is usually stacked against the library; make sure everything is in writing (thing includes donations with “strings attached”); always keep value value in mind
  • Not thinking long-term – sustainability is vital, so make sure you can follow through with programs and it’s not just a one-shot deal

Adopting the shoestring mentality

  • Always dress your best – staff represents the brand of the library
  • Learn something from every marketing activity (keep stats, review successes and failures, ask people how they heard about a program
  • Think in targeted segments – one size does not fit all
  • Tell your story – people connect with real stories that they can put themselves or their community into
  • Think double-duty – achieve more than one strategic or marketing goal with each program: Teen Reading Buddies serve to both improve literacy with kids and teens, and works as community service hours for teens

Strategies to use (not quite 50 ideas, but a lot…)

  1. Convert current users to new services
  2. Make friends, trustees, staff your ambassadors to the community – let them know of services first
  3. Motivate offline people to be online people – it’s cheaper and faster
  4. Get marketing talent on the board, or create a marketing advisory committee
  5. Make your library card look good – it should be the best looking card in the patron’s wallet
  6. Create a “intro to the library” presentation and talk to any group that will listen – get on peoples’ agendas
  7. Use public service announcements (PSAs) and local cable stations – it works
  8. Ask other town organizations, groups and departments to insert library info into their newsletters and mailings
  9. Work with the schools to use their distribution channels
  10. Use vehicle signage – magnet signs, bumper stickers, license plates
  11. Use local celebrities to assist with PR – have the mayor do a story time
  12. Get input and feedback from teens, senior citizens, etc, before you print
  13. Use websites as a virtual branch – it is the most cost-efficient marketing you can do
  14. Participate (visually) in local events
  15. Place ads in yearbooks, playbills, sports programs – they’re not expensive and they are unexpected
  16. Invite other groups to host their programs at the library, and then show them the tools and services the library offers that appeals to them – and sign them up for library cards
  17. Insert cross-marketing and readers advisory bookmarks into checked-out materials
  18. Solicit marketing help from vendors and library associations
  19. Submit book reviews to the paper, or other articles of interest (bibliographies of topics in the news
  20. Make the best possible use of in-library displays to involve and engage the public
  21. Replicate best marketing practices of other libraries (aka, don’t be afraid to steal good ideas)
  22. Make sure the staff understands that they are a huge part of the marketing effort – never let an opportunity to cross-market between services, products, service desks, etc
  23. Ask local printers about economies in print production – efficiencies lie in certain types of paper, printing in b&w, etc. – they know how we can save money, and will tell us to keep us as a customer
  24. Solicit corporate support to help pay for speakers, printing and other materials – printing their name on your materials is okay, and great for them
  25. Make sure you, the staff, and trustees have business cards – and give them out (printers can help with inexpensive ways to do this, and use both sides of the card)
  26. The annual report is a marketing document – make the dull statistics interesting with benefit-oriented information
  27. Maximize the potential of your telephone as a marketing tool – remind people of upcoming programs or new services; either with recordings or staff
  28. Display banners are seasonal and reusable – and changing the look of the library (outdoor and indoor) is visually interesting and engaging for patrons
  29. Offer free targeting training to specific groups (business databases for chamber of commerce members, etc)
  30. Co-develop materials with other libraries, leaving space for the library logo blank so you each can insert your logo and use the materials
  31. Create a stewardship program to honor long-time patrons, or frequent reader programs, to incentivize heavy library users


Is a state-wide library promotion campaign effective?
It does happen, and the general goal is to remind people libraries exist and raise awareness in a very general sense or to get a library card – it’s hard to be cost-effective locally

A lot of the ideas presented seemed like after-hours work for the staff – how do we do this?
That wasn’t the intent; it was to raise the priority of marketing during the workday. Marketing shouldn’t require overtime (but some things, like parade floats, are exceptions and worth overtime

How to make segmented maps of the population?
Just use a town map and indicate where churches are, civic groups, residential areas, sports associations, etc. Then try to associate people with these groups, and then look for which people are in more than one group. Evaluate what groups exist, what their needs are, and what communication channels each uses or has established

How do we get staff on board with marketing?
Tell them it’s their job [lots of laughs]; show them how easy it is – they talk to patrons while they are checking out anyway, so they could be suggesting library services during that transactions, too. It won’t take them extra time, as long as they recognize the opportunities when they arise. Make sure staff know how important they are to the cause. Try pairing new staff with veterans to pick up good habits, and share good ideas and success stories among staff. Show staff how to do this by having the director or other admins work the circ desk while marketing at the same time

What do staff say “no” to?
Have staff report or keep track of when they say “no” to patrons, and work towards getting everyone to saying yes by identifying the unmet needs of patrons

Marketing with other organizations?
Have local realtors include a library info packet with their materials for new home owners

Marketing in the schools?
Have a scavenger hunt or checklist (with prizes) to get students to explore other areas of the library

Can you elaborate on return-on-investment analysis?
It draws a correlation between the cost of library services and the benefit they offer – assign retail values to all services and compare that to the budget and what patrons are actually paying for. Try the Highland Regional (NJ) Library Consortium has a simple ROI model – Valuing Your Library – with a one-page worksheet, and show this to your town officials to show how much bang they are getting for their buck (usually 4-1). Also use the Library Value Calculator on your website

Crossing the Border: Changing Times for Librarians and Genealogists

Cynthia O'NeilSunday, 3:30 – 4:30

Every library has the basic tools needed by patrons who are searching for their roots, but librarians may not realize the extent of their online and print resources. Cynthia O’Neil, Certified Genealogist, Board for Certification of Genealogists and genealogy expert at the Manchester (NH) City Library, leads you through the process of assisting genealogists, as new technology and tight budgets encourage genealogists and librarians to work together.

There has been a divide between librarians and genealogists.

Genealogists think: everyone who works in a library is a “librarian” and needs to answer questions
Librarians think: everyone asking genealogy questions will be happy with the resources we can provide

Genealogists span from simply the curious to amateurs to professions who have their own research styles, favorite tools, and want to do their own work. A new group of genealogists are family members doing this work to find family medical histories and family DNA.

Amateur give the professionals a bad name – examples of amateur questions:

  • Where is the book on my family?
  • Can you do my family tree?

Librarians help find information, not do their work.

The best genealogists want original records or primary sources, which often are not in libraries. They are in City Clerks office or Archives, but vary by state and county, which makes it difficult for visiting genealogists to understand. Secondary source are usually not what genealogists want.

Problems between librarians and genealogists:

  • The reference interview can be difficult for genealogists, because it is very personal information and they don’t want to hear that information may not be available
  • Library resources are usually secondary sources, copies, or gifts (which leads to an uneven or “worn” collection)
  • Families move away, so libraries might not have information
  • Genealogists often think that everything about a townsperson is available somewhere in that town
  • Genealogy is usually not the main focus (or skill set) of a public library

Resources libraries already have that are of use to genealogists:

  • City directories
  • microfilm
  • maps (USGS, town, etc)
  • published local histories (even of surrounding towns)
  • how-to books on genealogy
  • town annual reports and vital records
  • cemetery records
  • the World Almanac (contains a timeline of history and a perpetual calendar to find past days/dates)
  • know who to contact to find church records

Session Handout

The handout was a bibliography of suggested core collection for libraries in New England:




  • Check for your state or town’s historical society’s website
  • [many more listed, will add asap]

How to help Genealogists

  • Encourage them to call before coming so you can be ready
  • Help them find information outside of the library
  • Ask them to tell us what they can’t find, so we know what resources to look for
  • Give out-of-towners local history information in addition to genealogical information, to help give them context (since New England history goes further back than other areas of the country

Question & Answer period

Q:What kind of information do you get out of land grants?
Where people lived, especially during certain time frames, see how land was passed through family members, learn how land was used.

Q: Do you have patrons come in and say donated information is wrong? Is it our responsibility to correct it?
Leave it the way it is, but include a note (with patron contact info) to notify subsequent users. The printed information came from somewhere, but no record is perfect.

Q: Boston University is starting an extension program for genealogy – should history-reluctant staff be sent for training, or just have one person on staff who is the expert?
Many staff are afraid of genealogy questions, and no amount of training will change that. Some find they unexpectedly enjoy it, so encourage them to try. If they are covering the expert’s lunch, they can at least pass out their business card.

Meeting Academic Library User Needs

Two Pilot projects at S.I. Newhouse School for Publishing:
1) Pilot project (02/2007-04/2007)
3 months time frame
Interview questions:
Resources and tools
describe typical course assignment for you and student
how do faculty stay current in field
and how do they collaborate outside of school

Data Processing and Analysis:
Will recordings be transcribed?
If not, what doco will be used as found. for analysis?
Group analysis through “co-viewing or co-listening?”
Develop and test protocol early in the process

“You may not know this, but people who teach journalism often suggest that the worst possible thing is to tape it,…”
“I don’t quite understand the process here… having two of you talking to one of me is awfully labor intensive and I don’t know what we’ve gained from it.”
-recommendation for interviewer training.
“I am huge believer in using the library… so much so that I am evangelical about it.”
“Collect a lot of data, see what’s happening elsewhere.” -journalistic research.
“I don’t see it as my place to teach them how to [do research].”

Further questions:
What does research mean to librarians and then to the school?
What does library mean?
Are we talking the same lanaguage?
Is the library “culture” in sync with other academic cultures on campus?

Project 2: Patterns of Culture: Re-aligning library culture to meet user needs.

Add students to mix
Conduct observations in addition to interviews
Appply same ethnological methods to the library (staff and culture)
Distill the data in ways that allow for comparison

Research with human participants:
If your project qualifies as “Research” and involves human subjects, it may be subject to review by an institutional review baord.
-Exempt research?
-Expedited review?

What we learned: before and after:
No training
No testing of instruments
No IRB interview
3 month time frame
little group analysis
little forethought on analysis and documentation


Questions to ask:
Method relev. for research q’s?
Is admin and project team in agreement about goals and outcomes?
Do you have time and reseources?

POSTED ON web site.

How Graduate Students Work on their Dissertations (GRANT at U. of Rochester).

Backgrouns and past satudies
initial findings

Studying Users
New webmaster hired (Xerox PARC researcher) Brought methodogies from there.
Discover real, rather than perceived, needs of users
Hired anthropologist (thru grant funding)
3 phases of study
1st study faculty
2nd study undergrad students
3rd study grad students

Phase 1:
1 year ILMS grant
Study faculty work practices
Focus on digital tools used by faculty in order to
Align institutional repository with the user expectations- easier to change technology than people). create authoring doc mgmt. system.
D-Lib mag, Jan 2005.

Phase 2:
2 year library-funded study
Writing papers black box (that exists between assignment and handing in of a student’s paper)
Holistic view of studetn life, to find info on what’s in the black box
Align services, facilites and web preseence to this black box activity. Students input heavily on re-design of bldg., massive web re-design underway
ACRL book- Studying Students

Phase 3:
2 year IMLS grant
Based on first IMLS study
Holistic view od disseration research and authoring
Align servoces, build tools
Porject in process, finish September 2008.

Nancy Foster:
These methodolgies are appl. to public libs too.

(see slide)

( Examples of data gathered from comm.)

Video: Work Practices, Versioning,

Results of braingstorming: What grad students are doing
getting help from peers via aim email
convert from word to pdf
save old stuff and go back to it
use tech to stay connected
thinking about future careet in terms of preparing portfoilo

plus 90 others!

Brainstorming as a good project development tool.

Prelim findings:
need doc mgmt system
lots of co-authoring with facutly supervisors
overloaded with pdfs paper articles, citations
problems synving documents from on computer ot another
struggling to learn literature in their fields- not confident that they have always found every imp. article.

Autoring tools-
version ctrl
citation mgmt.
Shifting role of the library
Open source product, due Sept. 2008
Changes to library services
need for grad student orientation (profs assume students have these skills already)
better marketing of existing resources
librarian expertise
alert systems, rss feeds
Info about grad students
wrappingup interviews and surveys over next few months
observations conclusions etc will be avail. in spring

Studying Students:

Grad Project

Forming Community Partnerships

Link to conference powerpoint:

Collaboration between Keene State and Keene Public Libraries in Keene NH.

Can an Academic and Public library work together?

A tale of 2 libraries (in walking distance of each other).

Keene State:
est. 1929, 180,000 titles, 5,235 students.

Keene Pub.:
est. 1828, 121,500 titles, approx. 22,500 residents

What is a library partnership?
Consortium model- multiple libraries work together
Joint-use library model- 2 libs sharing space
Academic library & public library model- one-on-one relationship

Consulted Librarian’s Guide to Partnerships.
Collaboration between community college and public libraries (joint use model) do exist.

Academic/public relationships are rarer, this is not a joint use case.

Examples of Academic & Public Library Partnerships (Joint-Use)
2001: first private/public library partnership (Nova Southeastern Univ. and Broward County
Board of County Commissioners)

2003: 1st large state/major metropolitan public library partnership (San Jose State Univ. and San Jose Public Library)

Academic & Public Library Partnerships (separate buildings)
Pioneer Library Consortium (Oregon) : seventy libraries (academic, public, school/community colleges)

Cedar Valley Library Consortium (Iowa)- four libraries

Middlebury College and Middlebury Public Library (Vermont)- 2 libraries

Automate the Catalog!
1988, Keene State and Pub. faced this same task with big price tag
Public lib to join with state lib, but money ran out.

At same time, city of Keene began downtown revitalization project:
more attractive downtown
more incentives for commerce
local businesses formed a special committee
public library is in this area of revitalization

College Town Woes (Town/Gown issues):
Disruptive students
loud parties
police and fire dept. must handle false alarms and ruckus
complaints from community members
A library partnership helps town/gown relations

Turning a corner:
KSC & KPL become partners in a joint automation project
KSC hires systems lib who works at KPL
Applied for grant to automate

system selection involved both librarys’ staffs and admins, city council members, college president and dean.
selected Triple I- because it handles 2 classification systems, and easy to use OPAC (patrons, students)

KSC paid 2/3 cost, towards good will for town.

diff. overdue fines, loan periods, classifcation systems, overall cost.
high school students checking out entire subj. areas (imposed 3 item limit for each library, now abolished)
commnity members soured on college’s overuse of town services

lib directors attend town metgs
articles in college and town newspapers
when city could not pay, college covered for cost.

Keene-link established:
Libraries inKeene linking together
online iun spring 1991

Benefits for each partner:
access to pop works, fiction, child lit,
staff and facutly can check out kpl itmes even if they live out of keene
retun at aiehter loc.
public-access to scholarly research, dvds/vids

Staff benefits:
collegiality btwn staffs
broadened perspective and understanding of each library’s needs
re-evaluate procedures and policies
overcome differences and resolve issues

More benefits:
now have 2 systems librarian (dual back up coverage)
regular ongoing mtgs betwen 2 depts. in each libraries
colleagues in your area with expertise

Each lib’s work affects the other
Issues from III system to resolve
Different missions and patrons with different needs

Examples of challenges (cataloging):
Agree on which MARC fields to load from new bib records, and regular review of III load tables
Sharing of Create list review files
running a review file (can step on other library’s toes!)

Examples of challenges (circ):
book jacket image OPAC feature (KPL wanted it)
10 digit phone number in patron records
patron fines-KSC purges patorns, can’t with KPL fines on them (under $5 can pruge)
holds feature- special settings from iii to allow kpl to do holds but ksc to not do it. turned on holds feature at ksc, were not overwhelmed by holds contrary to expectations

Other partnership ideas:
work with local non-profits like Vigo County Public Library (IN).
-project to create and maintain websites for nonprofits in community

Mountain Area Information Network (NC)
-community network provides low cost email, web sites, tech support and training, chat rooms.

More ideas:
comm outreach programs
info literacy projects
grant collaboration
-partners for Monadnock History project
shared bibliography creation
joint programming
joint program advertising
promote local businesses and arts

Summarizing KSC/KPL partnership:
improved town/gown relationship
great potential for ongoing future projects
commitment to work together for better or worse
brings together the community, the college, the patrons and staffs of both libraries

See also articles:

Creating and Capitalizing on the Town/Gown Relationship: An Academic Library and a Public Library Form a Community Partnership
The Journal of Academic Librarianship, Volume 32, Issue 6, November 2006, Pages 624-629
Kathleen Halverson and Jean Plotas

A Further Perspective on Joint Partnerships: A Commentary on Creating and Capitalizing on the Town/Gown Relationship
The Journal of Academic Librarianship, Volume 32, Issue 6, November 2006, Pages 630-631
Veronica Smith

Discussion Group: Get Involved with NELA

NETCRL– Teen and Children’s Librarian round table.

NETSL– sponsors conference at Holy Cross every spring. November will see another conference co-sponsored by NELINET, focused towards cataloging, but something for everyone.

ITS– Information Technology section. New chair of ITS section present, Rick Taplin. He was also the founder of this section. The IT section originally dealt with topics related to A/V issues, but now the scope has expanded to include many technological topics. Meets bimonthly, typically in Shrewsbury. Spring program yearly. Held an open source program (successful) this past spring. Programs at Annual yearly as well. Looking for new members interested in involvement at any capacity! Good to meet people from other states and see what they’re doing.

This last statement holds true for all sections, for exchange of ideas.

Kris Jacobi, president-elect of NELA, introduced.

NELSSA– Support staff section,VOLUNTEERS NEEDED!

HQ76.3– LGBT library employees.

Membership committee (Ann Connolly)- lots of email, bimonthly board meeting attendance, needs new ideas for recruiting new NELA members, things that would be beneficial to NELA members. In touch with new members and thank them, in touch with members to renew. NOT A LOT OF DATA ENTRY!

Public relations committee– need chair, help. Open for submissions for chair. Contests, brochures, booths/tables at NELA and other conferences.

Educational assistance committee– Grants and scholarships to MLS students, continuing education. Meetings flexible.

Conference committee– plan annual NELA conference, open exchange of ideas to plan program. Pooling of shared resources of speakers, etc. Includes inviting authors, etc. Cmte. works with other comtes. as well to development program.

Intellectual freedom committee– John Barrett was past chair, need new chair. Keeping up with news on issues with intel. freedom.

Publications section– collaborates on newsletter and website- new initiative to make both synchronous.

Nominating committee- pulls slate together for elections

Bylaws committee– chaired by Joanne Palko.

Joining a group can be a path to becoming an officer in NELA.

6 state reps in NELA- represent each state interests. Sometimes reflects political climate of state.

Please contact Ann Connolly if you have any questions about NELA or join any of the sections of NELA.

New members brochure, sections info on

NELA Executive board has treasurer, secretary, senior and junior director (junior director advances to senior director).

There are 800+ members of NELA.

Suggestion: run NELA membership drives at same time as state membership drives.

NELA sponsors 1 program at each state association conference, NELA President attends every state conference.

NELA also holds bi-annual NELLS (New England Libraries Leadership Section) conference. Four day conference on leadership and planning,. Besty Bray and Cheryl Bryan are co-chairs of NELLS. Communication via NELA listserv, virtual meetings. No live meetings as of yet, but it may come.

Suggestions: Possible permanent job board online? Need to pump up mentoring program, job sharing, posting, etc. Mentoring committee!

Wants: reinvigorate NELSSA, more activity with HQ76.3

Conference planning committee is comprised of both independent people who only serve on that committee and also representatives from other committees.