31 December 2005


Would you believe that The Librarian: Quest for the Spear was the top-rated cable movie in 2004? Did you see it? In case you didn't, Noah Wylie (who played Dr. John Carter on the television show ER), plays a pseudo-librarian (he has 22 degrees, but none are a MLS) who is hired as an archivist at the Metropolitan Library (read New York Public) and discovers all sorts of treasures in the basement. He goes off on a quest a la Indiana Jones. Well, at least he was cute, heterosexual, and a hero.

To appear in mid to late 2006, the next installment is called The Librarian: Return to King Solomon's Mines. He's supposed to co-star with an archaeologist (Stephen Abram, take note--Abram and I were both Anthropology majors as undergrads). Should be at least interesting.

Sources: Ruth Kneale in Spectacles: How Pop Culture Sees Librarians, MLS: Marketing Library Services 20(1):7, January-February 2006.

The Librarian 1 website: http://www.filmmonthly.com/Video/Articles/The Librarian/TheLibrarian.html.
The Librarian 2 website: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0455596/

28 December 2005

NEW BLOG: Superpatron

Welcome to Superpatron! Superpatron is a weblog for library patrons who love their libraries, who take advantage of everything they have to offer, and are always on the lookout for great ideas that libraries around the world are doing. It will discuss the role that library patrons have in shaping the libraries of the present and the future.

The blogger, Ed Vielmetti , is on the Advisory Board of the Ann Arbor MI Public Library. He write, "I love my library, and I'm looking for ways that librarians and libraries and friends of the library can do things to get more people to think the same way."

Well worth looking at for ideas for improving customer service. Check it out at http://vielmetti.typepad.com/superpatron/

27 December 2005


IBM’s Rules for Employees’ Blogs

You may want to check out these 11 rules. Although put together by giant corporation IBM, they hold for almost any organization.

Most are just plain sense, such as:

3. Identify yourself -- name and, when relevant, role at IBM -- when you blog about IBM or IBM-related matters. And write in the first person. You must make it clear that you are speaking for yourself and not on behalf of IBM.

5. Respect copyright, fair use and financial disclosure laws.

11. Try to add value. Provide worthwhile information and perspective.

For the complete list, see Tom Sullivan’s post of 16 May 2005 at http://weblog.infoworld.com/techwatch/archives/001390.html


The Edublogs Awards, “awards for scholarly and education focused bloggers,” has named

Joyce Valenza’s NeverEnding Search, http://joycevalenza.edublogs.org/, the best library/librarian blog for 2005, with 43.6 percent of the vote.

Runners up were The Shifted Librarian, http://www.theshiftedlibrarian.com/ (23.6 percent), Librarian.net, http://www.librarian.net/ (11.8 percent), Infomancy, http://www.schoolof.info/infomancy/ (9.5 percent), Open Stacks, http://openstacks.net/os/ (6 percent) and Caveat Lector, http://cavlec.yarinareth.net/ (5.5 percent). This year's awards were managed by Josie Fraser, a UK based educational technologist and blogger.

Library Stuff, http://www.librarystuff.net/, was named the best librarian blog for 2004, the first year of the awards. Last year’s runner ups were The Shifted Librarian and librarian.net

For more information, go to http://incsub.org/awards/the-edublog-awards-2005/

26 December 2005


Librarian's Blawg Wins a Prestigious Award

Sabrina I. Pacifici's beSpacific [http://www.bespacific.com] gets the award for Legal Support Blog by Blawg Review. [A blawg is a law-related blog.] Sabrina is a former law librarian and the founder, editor, publisher, and web manager of LLRX.com (Law Library Research Xchange), named one of the ten best law websites of the decade by Law Technology News.

Some of the other winners were in categories such as Intelligent Design, Best Graphics, Best Group Blog by Lawyers (also by Law Students and Law Professors), Practice Management, Best Perspective, and Lifetime In Blog Years Achievement. To see more of the award winners, go to

22 December 2005

MARKETING IDEA: Check Out Umbrellas

No More Rainy Days at Palm Harbor Library

The Palm Harbor (Florida) Public Library came up with a really neat idea. When it rains, they have umbrellas that can be checked out, just like books. The 36 umbrellas was funded by their Friends group and have the library's logo on them.

I found this on Marketing Treasures, from Chris Olson & Associates (http://www.chrisolson.com/marketingtreasures/vol14/Vol14N12DECEMBER05.html). Chris adds, "It would easy to take this idea a step further and offer library customers the option of purchasing uncataloged umbrellas. You could actually make this into an annual promotion event -- when it rains the library has you covered. Or this idea could be worked into a fundraiser by creating a limited edition version of the umbrella with special artwork, numbering the umbrella "editions," and selling them at the library and through local retail shops. You could have the original artwork for the umbrella signed by the artist and framed, and then raffled off. " What a neat idea!

By the way, if you don't already subscribe to Marketing Treasures, go to http://www.chrisolson.com/marketingtreasures/mtsignup.html and sign up. It's free, monthly, and full of good ideas for promoting your library, be it public or special.

21 December 2005


1. "I heart my job, what about you?"
This is from the really neat blog, Hello, my name is BLOG from Scott Ginsberg of St. Louis, Missouri. He's created a pin that says "I [ heart symbol] my job" (which he sells on the site...) and suggests our wearing one everywhere. It might get people to ask questions like:
"Why do you love your job?"
"What do you do?"
You would then have an opportunity to tell people what you do and why you love being a librarian. Interesting concept, eh?

Look at it at: http://hellomynameisscott.blogspot.com/2005/12/

2. Starbucks makes friends
Also from Hello, my name is BLOG, Scott talks about a Starbucks that let customers "buy" [for a donation to charity] a mug with their name on it and leave it there for the next time they came in. What at neat idea! You could sell the mug for a small amount or use the donation idea. It would show who your regular customers are and raise money as well. Get the CEO to participate and I bet a whole lot of others will follow.

See the whole article at: http://hellomynameisscott.blogspot.com/2005/12/

3. Get your catalog on their browser!
There's a Firefox plug-in that lets you make your catalog one of the pull-down options on the search screen--just like Google or Yahoo or Amazon. I haven't tried it myself, being not as technologically inclined as I'd like to be, but you might want to try it.

Check it out at: http://tametheweb.com/2005/12/every_library_catalog_needs_on.html

19 December 2005


I found another great resource in my files. Enjoy.

Info Career Trends, vol. 4, no. 3, May 1, 2003, http://www.lisjobs.com/newsletter/archives/text/jul03.txt

There comes a time in every librarian’s career to ask: “Where do I go from here?” This issue’s contributors have answered that question in a variety of ways, showing some of the different paths and possibilities available to today’s information professionals. Rachel Singer Gordon, LISJobs Editor


Librarianship: Not Just a Job, a Career

by Dennie Heye

Laid Off Twice At Age 30

by Russ Singletary [Cadence Group Inc.]

Growth Through Change: From Archivist to Consultant

by Valerie Nye

Charting Your Course: Taking Control of Your Professional Development

by Zahra M. Baird [Scarsdale Public Library, Westchester County, New York]

What’s Online? Recommended Resources

“How a Librarian Can Live Nine Lives In a Knowledge-Based Economy,” Brunella Longo discusses how the author stepped out on her own to create a career as a consultant.


University of Illinois Current LIS Clips: Continuing Professional Development. This issue of UIUC’s current awareness service provides a number of professional development resources. http://www.lis.uiuc.edu/clips/2002_10.html

“Climb High: High Altitude Mountaineering Lessons for Librarians,” Georgia Briscoe discusses lessons learned from mountain climbing and how they apply to having a successful career in librarianship.


Care and Maintenance of the Successful Career: How Experienced Law Librarians Make Their Work Rewarding. This special issue of Law Library Journal features a number of mid- career law librarians discussing how they continue to find satisfaction and challenges in their work after having reached the professional goals they originally set for themselves.


Career Development. This chapter from Ward, Evans, and Rugaas’ management text addresses how newer librarians develop their careers.


“What’s Luck Got to Do With It?” from Jennifer Cram. Mildly Australian-oriented; talks about how newer librarians can build a career.


Acquisitions Statistics

While going through my files, I found these notes on the state of acquisitions in the USA. Leah Hinds wrote the Against the Grain Annual Survey Report in Against the Grain, 17(2):70-72, April 2005. [If you aren’t familiar with ATG, it is a wonderful periodical focusing on the acquisitions side of librarianship, with news about libraries, publishers, book jobbers, and subscription agents. It is published by Katrina Strauch [College of Charleston, South Carolina, USA] on paper six times a year, in February, April, June, September, and November and December/January and has some articles online at http://www.against-the-grain.com/].

The issues most concerning our industry in the 21st century are funding (lack of money and increasing costs), electronic formats (problems, over-reliance on them, and archiving), and personnel (staffing levels, salaries, and tenure).

Here are some of the findings.

87 percent have bought e-books

49 percent use approval plans

32 percent outsource cataloging

11 percent outsource acquisitions

40 percent have been downsized in the past 2 years

58 percent said their materials budget has increased; 21 percent had decreased; only 36 percent had increased book budgets, vs. 60 percent for journals and 75 percent for electronic resources; the average budge increase for books was 13 percent, for journals 8 percent, for electronic resources, 14 percent

The average allocation of budget was 24.5 percent to books, 18.5 percent to journals and e-journals, 14.8 percent for online; the rest went to other categories.% of budget to books, 18.5% to journals and e-journals, 14.8% online

87 percent have a home page

89 percent have cancelled paper subscriptions in favor of e-journals

The sample size was 47 (40 were academic librarians, 2 were from special libraries; there were none from government or public libraries). Their average time as a librarian was twenty (!) years.

16 December 2005

NEW BLOG: The Patent Librarian

Michael White [Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada] has a wonderful blog, The Patent Librarian. Among other things, he has links to the Canadian, US, European, and World patent offices, several patent RSS news feeds, various patent classification terms (US, European, International, Japanese), and a couple of patent guides and tutorials. This is in addition to news about patents. Check it out at http://patentlibrarian.blogspot.com/


I just read another nice article about librarians, "When Google fails, local librarians know the answer." This one was in the Schaumburg (Illinois) Review. A quote from it: "The numbers suggest that people still rely heavily on librarians despite all the information supposedly available at our fingertips via the World Wide Web" (emphasis mine).
You can read the entire article at http://www.pioneerlocal.com/cgi-bin/ppo-story/localnews/

It's about time we got some respect.

KEEPING UP: Update on Engineering Resources

Roddy MacLeod [Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK] presented an update on engineering information resources at Online Information 2005 in London. His presentation is available at: http://www.hw.ac.uk/libwww/
libram/online2005update.ppt and a list of just the URLs can be found at http://www.hw.ac.uk/libwww//libram/onlineupdate2005list.doc.

Some of the resources are:
ITI-InfoCentral.com, http://www.iti-infocentral.com,
EngLib, for the scitech librarian, http://www.englib.info;
and other sci-tech blogs, portals, and vendors.


“Physicians find librarians vital” reads the headline of an article from The Dallas Morning News online. The wonderful article quotes Dr. William Smith [Methodist Health System, Dallas, Texas, USA], Carla Funk, executive director [Medical Library Association, Chicago, Illinois, USA], Laurie Thompson [University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas, USA], Mary PetersOPL subscriber—and Mary Anne Fernandez [Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, Dallas, Texas, USA]. An anesthesiologist who directs Methodist Hospital’s ambulatory surgery center was quoted as saying, “Probably, they [medical librarians] have been the most significant people in my career.” The only sour note is that Dr. Smith, who is featured in the article, is not a degreed librarian—but I’m still thrilled that the article was published. You can read the entire article at http://www.dallasnews.com/
(free registration required).


Hello, out there in Blogland. This is my first post, so bear with me.

I've set this blog up for all one-person or solo librarians anywhere--in public, corporate, special, academic, or whatever type of library; in the US, Australasia, Europe, or wherever.

What will be on this blog?
1. neat new sites I've found, or resources I've come across
2. meetings of solo/opl groups anywhere
3. my random thoughts on issues of importance to OPLs

For the time being, only I can post to this blog. Allowing comments, I'm told, just opens up the door to spam. SO, if you have something that you want to say to the others, just email it to me and I will post it. (email: jsiess@ibi-ipl.com).

This blog will not replace my newsletter, The One-Person Library. The newsletter will continue to be published, both in print and electronically, for the forseeable future. This blog will augment the newsletter. For a while now I have been frustrated when I find a neat new resources or website and can't tell you all about it for a month or more because of production schedules or space. Now I can put such information out as soon as I find it. Nice, eh?

Longer articles will still be in the newsletter, as will many of the items I put up on the blog (for those not yet into blogging). For those of you who do not yet subscribe to the newsletter, check out my website, http://www.ibi-opl.com, for more information on subscribing. (Hey, it's a bargain at only US$69 for the electronic version.)

This is an experiment, so bear with me, okay? Now, on with the blog.