Tuesday, May 31, 2005

The Tyranny of Library Hierarchy

Republished with permission of the author, Shari, from Libsup-l (Wed 5/25/2005):

"The tyranny of library hierarchy. Alice Munro reflects on her youth among the stacks."

That was the teaser on CBC Radio One's *As it happens* this evening. Yesterday, at the Vancouver Public Library, (noted children's author) Alice Munro received the 2005 Terasen Lifetime Achievement Award.

During her acceptance speech Ms. Munro noted that all awards are wonderful, but there was still something she dreamt of doing. She had worked at the Hastings and Main library, and "most of the branch libraries" while she "settled in" to library work. Ms. Munro enjoyed her work there, but "there was a rule." When people came in and asked for books, she couldn't say that these books were over there, and books on that subject are over here, or show them where the books on Sir John A. MacDonald were. She had to say, "Would you please ask the librarian," and maybe they thought that it was best that librarians, who knew about books, should do this, rather than clerical staff, who knew about clerical. Ms. Munro said she didn't know very much about clerical, and that she was reprimanded when she would direct people herself.

What Ms. Munro would like is to come in to the library some day, and people would come up to her and ask her for a book, and she would say, "Yes, would you follow me, please."

"And if it could be arranged for me, that would be a treat."

OLSSI Scholarships Announced

The 4th Annual Ohio Library Support Staff Institute is slated for Sunday July 31st through Tuesday August 2nd, 2005 on the campus of Baldwin Wallace College in Berea, Ohio. The course descriptions look fantastic! Not in Ohio? No worries! The institue is open to ANY library support staff member. They even offer scholarships...details below:

The OLSSI Annual Scholarships are three awards of $225 each, allowing three people to attend the 2005 Institute free of charge.

To apply, you must meet the following criteria:

Presently employed as a library support staff member.
First-time attendee of the OLSSI.
Agree to contribute to the planning the 2006 Institute.
How to Apply:

Please write, in 200 words or less, why you wish to attend the Institute, and how you think attending OLSSI will enhance your job performance.

* All applications must be written by the applicant, and not their supervisor(s).

* Deadline for entry is 5:00 PM, June 10, 2005.

Please remember to provide your name, the name of your library, and your contact information.

Please send via e-mail to bradshap@sconet.state.oh.us

Good luck & we hope to see you at Baldwin Wallace College for OLSSI 2005!

Friday, May 27, 2005

Uh oh. Now the kids will NEVER come in the library!

Big Mac, fries and an MP3?
Report: McDonald's hoping music downloads, Internet will help attract hipper, tech-savvy crowd.
May 25, 2005: 8:40 AM EDT

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - 'Would you like a ring tone with that?'

This may become the new customer service catchphrase as McDonald's hopes to reel in the young and tech-savvy with Blaze Net, which allows customers to buy music mobile-phone ring tones, print digital photographs and surf the Internet, according to a report published Wednesday.

The fast-food chain began pilot testing the new ATM-style device May 16 at its new flagship restaurant near the Oakbrook Center shopping mall in Oak Brook, Ill., the Chicago Tribune said. But a spokesman wouldn't say how many restaurants will add Blaze Net.

"It is clearly unique and not a traditional restaurant," Bill Whitman, a McDonald's spokesman, told the newspaper. "But it is a peek at the future of McDonald's through the use of technology, innovative design and contemporary space." Read more...

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Clippings! 5/26/05

Announcing a new feature at Library Supporter: Clippings! Sites or stories that caught my attention in my aggregator. Some I keep because I mean to read further, others because I liked the piece...and I've always been a pack-rat. :)

Recovering from an Emotionally Unhealthy Library. Sarah at Beyond the Job points to a moving piece about moving from an extremely stressful library worklife.

The Nature of Information in the 21st Century: Conundrums for the Informatics Community? from E-LIS. An excellent proposition for "coping with the ever evolving nature of the [digital information] beast".

Pieces of heartache by the Feel-good Librarian. I just love her posts!

Ask Launches New Zoom and Answering Services says John Battelle's Searchblog. Ask has two new features which allow a user to Zoom in or Expand a search by provideding relevant terms in a sidebar. Nice work!

and finally...

Blog Bubble to Burst. Film at 11. by Weblogg-ed News. Good story, but the headline makes it even better.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Underfunded Libraries Map

Derived from the National Center for Education Statistics (U.S. Census Bureau) March 2005 report, Public Libraries in the United States (pdf), ePodunk has published a map of underfunded libraries.

map of underfunded libraries: click for whole story

"The average 2002 spending (adjusted) of the 6,349 public libraries included in our study was $30.32 per person served. Of the library systems studied, 1,130 (18 percent) reported per capita spending that was less than half that. Those libraries - with annual spending of less than $15 per person - are shown in the above map."

Monday, May 23, 2005


They're informative! They're funny! They're printable!

click here for howtoons.com

Howtoons.comvia my del.icio.us inbox.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Bloglines to create world-class blog search

Stephen Baker of BusinessWeek Online.com spoke briefly with Mark Fletcher, Bloglines CEO, and reported that sometime this summer Bloglines will launch a blog search unlike any other.

As a huge fan of Bloglines...alright, I'll admit: junkie...this sounds promising!

Via John Battelle's Searchblog.

Friday, May 20, 2005

"Nobody's paid to do search or just find information"

Besides the fact that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has switched it's primary focus to world health after the Computers In Libraries five year initiative expired, Gates seems to have forgotten about librarians and library staff completely.

REDMOND, Wash. (AP)--At his annual shindig for CEOs, Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates told executives that businesses need to do more to help their employees sort through an ever-growing flood of information that threatens to become a drain on productivity.

"It's overwhelming," Gates said Thursday at the software company's ninth annual CEO Summit. "Nobody's paid to do search or just find information. At the end of the day you're paid for designing a new product, having a satisfied customer and doing that with the minimum amount of time, the minimum amount of people." Read more at InformationWeek.com

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Librarian's brush with FBI shapes her view of the USA Patriot Act

USA Today has published this story by Joan Airoldi, Director of the library district in Whatcom County, Washington. Riveting stuff!

It was a moment that librarians had been dreading.

On June 8, 2004, an FBI agent stopped at the Deming branch of the Whatcom County Library System in northwest Washington and requested a list of the people who had borrowed a biography of Osama bin Laden.

We said no.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

My First HTML at w3schools.com

Always wanted to build a web page but never thought you could? Check out a quick introduction to HTML at w3schools.com!

You will make this HTML page in 6 easy steps:

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

For a more thorough learning experience, try their HTML tutorial and then follow up with Introduction to CSS.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

The GTD Equation

Getting things done. Now there's a concept for success: GTD=(>$)

The cult of GTD is based mostly on the works of professional training, coaching, and management consulting guru based in Ojai, California, USA. David Allen. "Getting Things Done" seems to be what people need to do the most. His Coaches Corner has some interesting titles, but for the most part he's selling his products and booking seminars. This guy is good. He offers a video download of a portion of one of his seminars and it's easy to see why his techniques are so successful. Too bad The David Allen Company isn't publicly held...I imagine the financial aspects are very, very good.

One of the most popular sites linked at del.icio.us these days is OpenLoops. Bert Webb is a school administrator who confesses that his "lack of knowledge in productivity that has brought me to a point where I have to learn." A few recent post titles indicate the tone of the blog: How to Say What You Really Mean, Hand Gestures Linked To Better Speaking, and Ten Ways to Improve Your Communication Skills are examples of his tips for better living. He does have a store, but Open Loops isn't one of these sites that advertise free business articles but then make you register.

A key concept in the GTD method is organizing your life digitally. TiddlyWiki - a reusable non-linear personal web notebook, is wildly popular, though I have to mention Hipster PDA (index cards and binder clips) for those who haven't yet crossed the great digital divide. Either way, there's is a lot to be learned, and gained, from applying these techniques.

So I'll jump in and get the book. I'll look more closely at the productivity tools for addressing the cluttered desk and inbox.

Besides, if I don't Get Things Done I won't be successful. If I'm a total slacker and don't Get Things Done At All I won't produce any income. If I Get More Things Done at work I'll become more efficient and valuable to my workplace: GTD=(>$).

But $99.00 for an official David Allen note-taker wallet and pen? (Temporarily out of stock)

I don't think so.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Security 101 for Windows Computers

The University of Delaware website has an incredible computer security section. Though sometimes specific to the UD network, the tips and links to tools available are thorough, yet easy enough for a beginnner computer user. The Code of the Web will even give a chuckle!

Sample this from Security 101 for Windows Computers:
  • Activate your computer's built-in firewall or use firewall software.
  • Use up-to-date Anti-Virus Protection - UD-licensed McAfee software.
  • Keep Current with your computer's latest Security Patches:
    1. Operating System Critical Updates
    2. Application Critical Security Updates

  • Password-protect your computer accounts.
  • Protect against Spyware/Adware.
  • Use secure client software to connect to UD central UNIX systems.
  • Protect your computer from remote abuse:
    1. Windows Settings and Configuration
    2. File Sharing
    3. E-mail Settings
    4. Web Browser Settings

  • Backup your files regularly.

College Libraries Set Aside Books in a Digital Age

Students attending the University of Texas at Austin will find something missing from the undergraduate library this fall.


By mid-July, the university says, almost all of the library's 90,000 volumes will be dispersed to other university collections to clear space for a 24-hour electronic information commons, a fast-spreading phenomenon that is transforming research and study on campuses around the country. Read More from The New York Times

Friday, May 13, 2005

So You Wanna Learn Something?

Often funny and mostly irreverant, SoYouWanna.com has some remarkably good How-To's, but USE YOUR POP-UP BLOCKER!

Here are a few titles from the Education category:
Now that you're finished with college, it's time to enter the real world: a world of cubicles, office politics, and backstabbing corporate weirdos. That's when you suddenly realize that college really wasn't such a bad experience after all. You got to read about interesting things, had a relatively relaxed schedule, and there was always time for a well-planned kegger. Why not extend your college lifespan a little longer by applying to graduate school? We here at SoYouWanna.com are all for graduate school; it's a great way to learn about things that are specifically interesting to you while not having to deal with all of the unrelated prerequisites of the undergrad experience. But before you proceed to filling out those applications, there's an important feat of intelligence to be overcome: a standardized test that quizzes you on what you learned in college. This beast's name is the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). So You Wanna Learn the Basics of the GRE

Plus More!

ace the LSAT
"Law School's A Terror."

ace the SAT
"It's no big deal. Just your FUTURE!"

avoid common logical errors
"If A, then B. But why would I ever want to A?!"

avoid common writing errors
"Don’t write so good?"


Perceptions of Romance Readers: An Analysis of Missouri Librarians

I'll contact the authors to try and get the actual report, but here's a reprint of an article from The Columbia Missourian:
Rippling biceps, chiseled abs and a steamy love affair can be bought when you purchase your eggs and milk.

Romance novels, commonly found in grocery stores and libraries, comprise 48 percent of all popular paperback fiction sold in North America.

Yet an MU study has found the genre faces a negative stigma from library professionals.

“Perceptions of Romance Readers: An Analysis of Missouri Librarians” — conducted by assistant professor Denice Adkins, clinical associate Linda Esser and graduate teaching assistant Diane Velasquez — examines how public librarians and library staff perceive romance novels and their readers.

“We wanted to know if the kind of romance novels women read had changed, whether librarians still have a rather negative attitude toward romances, and about the women who read them — if they were looked at as less educated,” Esser said.

All three of the researchers are avid romance novel readers and have worked in public libraries.

They each experienced a different degree of stigma against romance novels in their respective libraries and were curious why the genre was so scrutinized.

“Comments are still made in ‘library land’ about romance novels that place them in a category that is ‘less than’ ” Esser said. Lisa Meyers, cataloger for the Daniel Boone Regional Library, which sees 7,390 romance novels checked out a month, said escapism is the main reason readers are faithful to romance novels.

“People read them to get away from everyday life. They are quick and easy to read and are pure entertainment,” said Meyers, whose job is to select fiction novels for the library.

“They do have a bad reputation, but they are not just about sex; the novels are more about relationships.”

To gather information for their study, the researchers sent surveys to 126 public libraries chosen from the 2003 Directory of Missouri Libraries, representing urban, suburban and rural libraries.

They received 54 surveys in return.

According to the study, Missouri public librarians are less judgmental toward the literary merit of the romance novels and are more concerned with patron satisfaction.

However, the research found a discrepancy between librarians’ personal opinion and professional ideology.

The responses included statements such as “I wish they’d grow up to read real literature” as well as “we try very hard not to judge by reading preference.”

“It seems that readers, including librarians, either really love them or don’t,” said Pam Verdium of the Southern Boone County Public Library branch.

“But there are many people who are very faithful to their favorite series or genre of romances.” By JANNA JOHNSON, The Columbia Missourian

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Condom Machines May Come To Public Libraries

It's just an idea for now, but condom machines may be placed in local public libraries.

Planned Parenthood runs a program that places condoms in local coffee shops, restaurants, bars and neighborhood centers, and their numbers show more condoms are purchased at neighborhood centers than bars.

"We have to make them accessible neighborhood centers, libraries, other places teens are hanging out," says City Councilman Jose Ibarra. He wants to discuss the possible expansion with the library board.

A library spokesperson couldn't comment, saying there is no formal proposal. By Kaushal Patel, KOLD News 13

Personally, I think it's a good idea...but I can just imagine the backlash!

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Announcing: Reference EXTRACT

Reference Extract is a targeted web search engine. It is built from the expertise of AskA services geared to the education audience. The Virtual Reference Desk team has identified high-quality archives of FAQ’s and previously asked questions. These sites were then indexed, and the result is an easy to use, quality oriented search engine: digref.org.

Right Click > Create Shortcut on Desktop!

Link via Virtual Dave's News

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Six Ways to Jump-Start Your Day

Can't get motivated in the morning? Try these tips from Open Loops, one of the better GTD blogs ("Getting Things Done") out there:

  • Use a light producing alarm clock – I purchased an alarm clock that begins to flash a pulsating light in the room 4 minutes prior to the set time.  I find that I’m usually waking up before the audible alarm rings.

  • Put the alarm clock on the other side of the room – Make it so that you have to get up to turn it off.

  • Start the day with protein – Bob Arnott, in his book, The Biology of Success, advocates states that the intake of protein helps to jump start the body in the morning.  He stated that a quick protein drink, a short exercise period, then a breakfast started his day.  A quick trip to my local GNC store resulted in my purchase of a vanilla flavored protein drink.  I couldn’t believe it.  It’s like someone turns a switch on inside my head.  Just a minute or two after I drink it, the sleepiness is gone and I’m thinking clearly.

  • Turn up the lights – A Harvard study concluded that there is a link between light exposure and the part of the brain that is thought to control attention focus and energy production.  So, turn on the lights…all of them:  Bedroom light, bathroom light, hall light, kitchen light, and living room light. 

  • Get at least five minutes of physical activity – My choice is jumping rope.  Gets the blood flowing.  Jump starts (pun intended) the metabolism.

  • Eat a healthy low-fat, high-fiber breakfastFiber One is a great choice as it has the highest fiber content of any other cereal.
Read more from Open Loops...

By the way, I'm also a big fan of 43 Folders!

Link via del.icio.us.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Are You Technically Competent?

The California Library Association's Information and Technology Section has posted thier newly adopted Technology Core Competencies for CA Library Workers.

The competencies are intended to serve as a base model for technology competencies for California Library workers in all sorts of libraries with all types of technology. The intention is that libraries use these competencies as a starting point in assessing thier staff's technology proficiencies and building their own sets of tailored competencies. I think they will also be useful to libraries and library staff across the globe--not just in California. Read more...

Via Librarian In Black

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Canadian Library Support Staff Survey Results Published

The first Canadian library support staff survey at the national level was conducted by the BCLA Library Technicians and Assistants Interest Group (LTAIG) in March 2005, with sample results seen below:

Job Responsibilities

The most common technical and administrative job responsibilities included:

  • Filing, shelving, shelf-reading (62.3%),
  • Cataloguing, classification (54.3%), and
  • Staff and volunteer training (51.4%).

The most frequently cited public service duties included:

  • Reference work (39.6%),
  • Circulation (67.2%), and
  • Computer assistance for patrons (58.3%).

Full survey results and analysis will be available on the LTAIG section of the BCLA website in Summer 2005.

Link via Library Grrrls!

15 Things You Can Do with RSS

  1. Get the news as it happens from multiple news sources

    An RSS feed reader is an aggregator of numerous feeds from news sources (and nearly every major paper and TV news network has RSS feeds today). But now there are even feeds that aggregate other feeds. The new RSSmix.com lets you combine all the news source RSS feeds into one single feed so you get news as it happens.

  2. Collect your email from all your email accounts in your RSS reader

    Easily done with mailbucket.org. And each Gmail account has an RSS feed too. Or if you're a user of Mailinator.com, then you'll be glad there's a similar service called dodgeit.com but with RSS feeds.

  3. Track Fedex packages

    Ben Hammersley says Just add your tracking number to the end of a special RSS feed address.

  4. Get notified of bargains at Ebay

    RSSauction.com lets you specify the type of product, its description and even the price range in their customised Ebay feeds.

  5. Get stock updates

    There have been various paid services and limited unpaid ticker services around. Tim Bray made a customisable feed. Yahoo is introducing its own RSS ticker service.

  6. Get the weather reports

    Weather Underground has the weather of every city and town in the world. And each of them now has an RSS feed. Alternatively, there is RSSweather.com.

  7. Find out what people are saying about you, your company or your product online

    Services like technorati.com and pubsub.com offer something that's popularly called persistent search delivery. You type in a search term such as your name and or your company name or product name and they will return the newest indexed references to you in a customised RSS feed. Both services scan blogs. If you want persistent search delivery from a broader range of sites, you have Googlealert.com.

  8. Get music, radio programs and TV clips

    Now you have podcasts and directories like podcastalley.com that also serve the latest podcasts in several RSS feeds. And increasingly, like Comedy Central's Daily Show, broadcasters are finding it effective to promote and deliver their shows in RSS. Videobloggers now have a community website called Mcfeedia.com that adds tags to video blog RSS feeds.

  9. Stay updated on someone's schedule

    RSScalendar.com lets someone input new events and meetings on their schedule for free. And if you pick up the RSS feed for that schedule, you're always up-to-date on what's going on in that person's day.

  10. Get cinema schedule updates

    Quietly getting popular, a movement led by small local cinemas like City Cinema, rather than big cinema networks. But the bigger cinemas are delivering updates via email and these can be converted into feeds by mailbucket.org.

  11. Read your favourite comics

    Many daily and weekly comic authors publish online and have an RSS feed. Dilbert of course has one. Best way to locate the feed is to type in the name of the comic into either Feedster.com or Bloglines.com (both are great RSS feed directories). And even if your favourite comic doesn't have a feed on its website, a good comic will have someone somewhere creating an unofficial scraped feed. Comicalert.com has a large updated list of both official and unofficial RSS feed list of hundreds of comics.

  12. Find out what other people surfing

    I don't mean spyware. A lot of people use online bookmarks which they make public. Places like del.icio.us, feedmarker.com, furl.net and the new wists.com are online bookmark services that create RSS feeds for each user.

  13. Automatically backup your weblog posts

    If your RSS feed is being picked up by an online feed reader service like Bloglines.com, they will store all your entries on their server. Unfortunately, they don't have an export feature. But at least all your entries (if you have full entries in your RSS feed) are safe and dated.

  14. Get software updates

    Popular software downloads sites like Download.com and versiontracker.com let you keep up with all new releases via RSS. So you can also be alerted when your favourite softwares have a new version or when there are better releases.

  15. Get the latest bittorrent files and ahem, p*rn

    As they say, if its worth something, it's worth more illegal. Bittorrent directory Torrentspy.com was the first to have an RSS feed that lets its users know what has just been uploaded. And the online p*rn industry, being always on the cutting edge of online business, was probably the first to take to blog CMSes and use them to generate traffic through RSS feeds. I'll refrain from linking to one here, but it just takes a Google search to find several.

More from TimYang.com

Link via del.ico.us

Sidebar Resources

Update 5/26/05: Feed from my del.icio.us inbox. I'm a huge fan of the social bookmarking tool, del.icio.us, and love the subscription capablities it offers. You can call on just about any topic of interest and then have it delivered to you via RSS in dozens (hundreds?) of ways. Click here for a good entry-level tutorial. Interested in more ways to connect via RSS? Check out Library Clips!

I've also added a flickr badge that will show all photos tagged with "library." Nice!

Update 5/14/05: Let's switch to Top 10 MSN Top Tens for a bit, hmmm? I like the way you can Use MSN Search Builder for specialized general web searches and then export them via RSS...and I've always been a fan of "Top Ten Lists." :)

Archive 5/08/05: I've been watching these Search results in my feedreader for while now and am pleased that it updates when something new comes around and I can share it with my library's staff. I'm also reminded that when I was a Stay At Home Mom a big part of what I did to keep my brain from turning into the contents of a dirty diaper was to teach myself computer skills via free online courses.

Unless it requires too much loading time, I'll show these feeds (via RSS Digest) in the main page's sidebar.

So here's a reminder that you're never to busy to learn and...


Friday, May 06, 2005

NN/LM's Valuable and FREE Training for Public Libraries

Our library had the pleasure of hosting Sheila Snow-Croft, Outreach Coordinator with the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM), Southeastern Atlantic Region, for two classes recently: From Snake Oil to Penicillin: Evaluating Consumer Health Information on the Internet (for Public Librarians) and Beyond an Apple a Day: Providing Consumer Health Information in a Public Library. NN/LM flew both Sheila and Terri Ottosen, NN/LM Consumer Health Coordinator Southeastern Atlantic Region, paid for their lodging AND provided us with excellent consumer healthcare information for our patrons and ourselves at no cost to our library.

Sheila and Terri were extremely knowledgeable and the classes were quite informative. The handouts were complete and useful, plus they left us with plenty of printed materials for patrons. Asked if she could come back early the next morning to do an impromptu class with Reference staff, Sheila agreed without even a blink. Terri will be coming back in the fall to do another series of classes for our staff!

As a follow-up, Sheila sent an email with updates to some of the coursework. Knowing that I'd be blogging this, I'm sure she won't mind if I share some of it with you:

Our website is www.nnlm.gov/sea. Most of what we taught can be found online at http://nnlm.gov/libinfo/community/. The info below is pulled directly from the "Providing Health Information Services" link off of that page. Your Reference Librarians may want to explore the sections "Guides for Developing a Community-based Health Information Program" and the "Resource List" as they explore Consumer Health services in your area. Also, both classes are linked here: http://nnlm.gov/train/consumer/ with the handouts, etc., all provided.

Listed below are the sites we explored in class, plus a few more:

MedlinePlus - http://medlineplus.gov - the National Library of Medicine's consumer health web resource. Includes information on 700 health topics, full-text drug information, a full-text medical encyclopedia, daily health news, and more.

FamilyDoctor.org - http://www.familydoctor.org - From the American Academy of Family Physicians. Health information for the whole family.

Cancer.gov - http://www.cancer.gov - >From the National Cancer Institute. Extensive information about types of cancer, clinical trials, statistics, and more.

Kidshealth: www.kidshealth.org Created by The Nemours Foundation's Center for Children's Health Media, KidsHealth has the goal of providing families with accurate, up-to-date, and jargon-free health information.

Lab Tests Online - www.labtestsonline.org - A site developed by clinical laboratory professionals to help the public understand lab tests that are part of routine care or used in diagnosis and treatment.

NIH Senior Health - http://nihseniorhealth.gov - the National Institutes of Health's web site for seniors and their care givers.

ClinicalTrials.gov - http://clinicaltrials.gov - the National Library of Medicine's searchable database of clinical trials in which consumers may wish to participate.

DIRLINE - http://dirline.nlm.nih.gov - the National Library of Medicine's online directory of health organizations.

TOXTOWN - http://toxtown.nlm.nih.gov - the National Library of Medicine's web resource for consumers to understand toxins in their environment.

HEALTHINFOQUEST - http://nnlm.gov/healthinfoquest - This online resource provides pathfinders to common consumer health questions encountered in public libraries. Each pathfinder stands alone and demonstrates ways to answer sample questions using authoritative and reliable sources.

Guidelines for Providing Medical Information to Consumers - library.uchc.edu/departm
- from the Connecticut Consumer Health Information Network - These guidelines are to help reference librarians and other library staff answer consumer health and medical questions from library users. Consumer health questions are those that relate directly to a personal medical concern of the person asking for information or the person's relative or friend.

Guidelines on Handling Medical Questions in the Public Library - www.nlc.state.ne.us - from the Nebraska Library Commission reference manual. Includes a section about dealing with telephone inquiries.

Thank you Sheila, Terri and NN/LM!

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Longtime library clerk leaves $350,000 to buy books

ST. LOUIS - George Kyle was a kind man and a creature of habit.

For 46 years, he meticulously manned the desk at the Carpenter branch of the St. Louis Public Library, checking books in and out, answering questions, organizing files, all for a modest salary that probably never exceeded $18,000.

The clerk was known to be frugal, bringing the same thing every day for lunch: a bologna sandwich on white bread, with two graham crackers he would break into quarters before eating and a thermos of milk.

So imagine the surprise at the public library when it was learned that Kyle, who died of heart and kidney problems at age 88 in 2003, had left a gift of more than $350,000 to buy books for the Carpenter branch. Read more from The Associated Press

Association Memberships Connect Library Staff

Support staff have significant opportunities for professional development through membership in library associations. Membership has traditionally been a way to make essential connections that benefit one's work and personal life. However, many support staff do not consider association membership as a regular part of their career development. With encouragement from progressive directors and department heads, support staff can begin to see association membership as a vital, natural component of their professional journey.

Membership is an often overlooked staff development area. Studies have consistently shown that feelings of 'connection' motivate staff to perform better at work, have lower absentee rates and stronger personal identification with the success of projects. Management should look for ways to encourage support staff to make connections with others in their field by joining a library association. By identifying ways a staff member can personally contribute to a library association, management demonstrates a belief in the staff member.

State organizations may have a special interest group for support staff.
Local paraprofessional and support staff groups are often organized "by staff for staff" and can be an excellent venue for involvement. The American Library Association (ALA) recently lowered membership dues for support staff to $35.00/year, making membership in the national organization very accessible. ALA offers distance education and skills building workshops, support staff conferences, and opportunities for committee work.

Information about support staff participation can be found at www.ala.org/ssirt along with information about specialty divisions and round tables at www.ala.org/membership.

Library administrations might consider that membership can also be used as a staff appreciation technique. Consider gifting a yearly membership in ALA or your state association for an employment anniversary. Offer membership as a prize during National Library Workers Day or a staff appreciation day. You can encourage your board or friends group to provide membership as a non-salary benefit for key employees. Any efforts to encourage support staff in their career development will return dividends to your library through a well motivated, better informed, and more connected staff.

Reprinted with permission by:
John Chrastka
Manager for Membership Development
American Library Association

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

How to Sit at a Computer

I have a terrible habit of crossing my legs under the desk when I'm sitting at my computer. I don't even notice it until, after a while, I try to stand and my foot is asleep then I end up on the floor! I'm a klutz anyway...My brothers still call me "Grace."

Do you also find yourself improperly seated? Check out Ergonomics.com and their recommendations for maintaining proper posture while at the computer. After just a few days of paying more attention I haven't fallen down once! :)

Link via del.icio.us

Our Libraries Deserve Support!

It has been said libraries are the delivery rooms for the birth of ideas. They contain the words, the images, the facts and the opinions that make up, if you want to extend the metaphor, the DNA of civilization.

Libraries provide all of us with books, magazines, and newspapers, computers and internet access. They offer educational and entertainment programs, lectures, storytimes, workshops, book discussions, exhibits. They provide rooms for meetings and other events and a quiet, comfortable and secure place to read, to think and to generally enjoy learning how to learn.

Yet, year in, year out, libraries often do not have the resources they need. Read more from The Barre Montpelier Times Argus

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

International Public Access Computing Event for Library Staff

WebJunction has announced an online collaboration event in conjunction with their "Public Access Computing Around the World" focus in May. The three day event includes a new forum on All Aboard plus guest moderators Nancy Bolt of Colorado State Library and the American Bulgarian Library Exchange Project, and Pilar Pacheco, Training Area Coordinator, BiblioRedes Project in Chile.

The event will take place on May 10, 11, & 12. Betha Gutsche, WebJunction Community Associate, notes that the goals of this event are to:
  • Open the door to the international library world
  • Learn some practical ideas from other countries
  • Give everyone a better appreciation for the challenges and successes of public access computing

  • While anyone may read the forum posts, you do need to register to participate in the discussion.

    As the BiblioRedes project says, “Abre Tu Mundo” –Open Your World!

    Monday, May 02, 2005

    Teen Loves Being a Library Geek

    Sometimes there is a rare jewel among all the listserv posts: this one came in with the subject heading "Why I work in a library!"

    My library has impacted me in an astounding way, and I am so thankful! When I am having a tough time with something, I go to the library to find a good, meaty novel. Reclining in another world for awhile helps to put my own situation in perspective and I am often able to draw from a character's courage, love or wisdom to solve whatever issues I may have. Without the library, an omnipresent force offering its gifts at all times, I don't know what I'd do! Teen Ink Non-fiction: "Library Geek" by Kelly W., Burien, WA

    Sunday, May 01, 2005

    Woman with All the Answers Retires

    After nearly 21 years of filling her head with enough facts and figures to make even Cliff Claven drop to his knees in awe, one of Nashua’s premier go-to researchers has answered her last official inquiry.

    But that doesn’t mean you can never ask Nancy Grant another question; just don’t expect the same attentive treatment and quick results that thousands of answer-seekers got when they approached the reference desk at the Nashua Public Library over the past two decades. Read more by Dean Shalhoup of the Nashaua Telegraph