27 December 2008


Europeana, the cultural archive of the European Union, is working again. (You may remember that it crashed due to very high demand at its first launch.)

However, I'm not too impressed with it so far. I know that it is new, but I can't see much that would be useful to OPLs--unless you're in an art or history library.

But look at it for yourself and decide.

URL: http://www.europeana.eu/portal/


The Ultimate Social Media Etiquette Handbook has suggestions for all the well-known social networking tools, such as Facebook and for a lot that I'd never heard of. If you use them--or if you advise people who do--this is a great tool.

URL: http://www.techipedia.com/2008/social-media-etiquette-handbook/

22 December 2008


From Stephen Abram and Walt Crawford...this was fun! Try it yourself!

Things you’ve already done: bold
Things you want to do: italics
Things you haven’t done and don’t want to - leave in plain font

1. Started your own blog.
2. Slept under the stars.
3. Played in a band. (high school and college, clarinet)
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower.
6. Given more than you can afford to charity.
7. Been to Disneyland/world. (both)
8. Climbed a mountain.
9. Held a praying mantis.
10. Sang a solo. (it wouldn’t be a pretty sight—I can’t sing, but I played a clarinet solo)
11. Bungee jumped. (not bloody likely!)
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea.
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch.(Italian)
15. Adopted a child.
16. Had food poisoning. (twice)
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty.
18. Grown your own vegetables.
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France.
20. Slept on an overnight train.
21. Had a pillow fight. (to celebrate our engagement!)
22. Hitch hiked.
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill. (they’re not sick days, they’re mental health days)
24. Built a snow fort.
25. Held a lamb.
26. Gone skinny dipping.
27. Run a marathon.
28. Ridden a gondola in Venice.
29. Seen a total eclipse.
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset.
31. Hit a home run.
32. Been on a cruise.
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person.
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors. (in France and Germany)

35. Seen an Amish community.(in Ohio, Illinois, and Missouri)
36. Taught yourself a new language. (Italian)
37.Had enough money to be truly satisfied.
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person.
39. Gone rock climbing.
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David in person.
41. Sung Karaoke.
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt.
43. Bought a stranger a meal in a restaurant.
44. Visited Africa.
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight.
46. Been transported in an ambulance.(trust me, you don’t want to do this)
47. Had your portrait painted.
48. Gone deep sea fishing.
49. Seen the Sistine chapel in person.
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling.
52. Kissed in the rain.
53. Played in the mud.
54. Gone to a drive-in theater.
55. Been in a movie.(assuming that home movies don't count)
56. Visited the Great Wall of China.
57. Started a business.
58. Taken a martial arts class.
59. Visited Russia.
60. Served at a soup kitchen.
61. Sold Girl Scout cookies.
62. Gone whale watching.
63. Gotten flowers for no reason.
64. Donated blood.
65. Gone sky diving. (and not likely to—I hate heights)
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp.
67. Bounced a check.
68. Flown in a helicopter. (in Australia)
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy. (I have my first toy—a turtle)
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial.
71. Eaten Caviar. (yech!)
72. Pieced a quilt.
73. Stood in Times Square.
74. Toured the Everglades.
75. Been fired from a job.
76. Seen the Changing of the Guard in London.
77. Broken a bone.

78. Been on a speeding motorcycle. (motorcycle yes, fast, no)
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person.
80. Published a book.
81. Visited the Vatican.
82. Bought a brand new car. (always)
83. Walked in Jerusalem.
84. Had your picture in the newspaper.
85. Read the entire Bible. (Old Testament only)
86. Visited the White House.
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating.
88. Had chickenpox.
89. Saved someone’s life.
90. Sat on a jury.
91. Met someone famous. (several)
92. Joined a book club.
93. Lost a loved one.
94. Had a baby. (again, no chance)
95. Seen the Alamo in person.
96. Swum in the Great Salt Lake.
97. Been involved in a law suit.
98. Owned a cell phone.
99. Been stung by a bee. (twice)

18 December 2008


“The ticTOCs Journal Tables of Contents service makes it easy for academics, researchers, students and anyone else to keep up-to-date with newly published scholarly material by enabling them to find, display, store, combine and reuse thousands of journal tables of contents from multiple publishers.” The service covers 11,140 scholarly journals from 420 publishers, with links to full-text of nearly 300,000 articles. Unfortunately, most of the articles are not free. You can even export the TOC feeds to popular feedreaders. If you register (free), your journal list is saved. I found about 25 journals that cover library issues—mostly in the UK.

URL: http://www.tictocs.ac.uk/index.php?action=home

17 December 2008


Google has a nice list of 19 things you can do with their browser that you might not have thought of. Each has a video demo, too. Here are just a few of them:
browse a book, check the time in another country, check your flight, translate a phrase, stargaze (!), and "settle trivia disputes in the pub" (or the library!). The site is UK-based but the applications are universal.

URL: http://www.google.co.uk/landing/thingstodo/

16 December 2008


Social networking has even made it to the legal profession. The American Bar Association has created Legally Minded. It has news, education, jobs, resources, and community sections and is searchable. You can "find others just like you--our people map lets you connect." Recent hot topics were careers, twitter and "mobile lawyering" (look that last one up!).

Looks interesting, but does the firm really want their lawyers checking out a social networking site instead of creating billable hours? Maybe the ABA is just following the latest "neat new stuff."

URL: http://legallyminded.com/

12 December 2008


Law Librarian Blog has a list of resources on the current world financial crisis. They include source materials from Fordham's Law Library
and FindLaw's website, Financial Crisis: From Wall Street to Main Street. Good stuff.

Law Librarian Blog post: http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/law_librarian_blog/2008/12/another-resourc.html
Fordham Law Library: http://lawlib1.lawnet.fordham.edu/econcrisis/
FindLaw: http://www.findlaw.com/financial-crisis.html

10 December 2008


Vadlo is a new search engine for the biological sciences. It was created by two biologists and takes it name from a large fig tree (why?). It consists of protocols, online tools, PowerPoint presentations, databases, software, and cartoons.

URL: http://www.vadlo.com/

08 December 2008


Although this article is about a school library, its lesson is for all libraries.
Burge, Kathleen [Boston Globe], New 'Learning Commons' defies commonplace, Boston.com, 8 December 2008.

URL: http://www.boston.com/news/education/k_12/articles/2008/12/08/new_learning_commons_defies_commonplace/

05 December 2008


If you work with the millennial generation (or Gen Y), here is a book you absolutely must read. It is the best I've seen on the subject.
The subtitle says it all: "how the millennial generation is shaking up the workplace."

Alsop, Ron [The Wall Street Journal], The Trophy Kids Grow Up, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2008, ISBN 978-0-470-22954-5, US$24.95.

04 December 2008


Recently I came across two articles describing very successful outreach or public relations efforts by academic libraries. Both appeared in Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship, the quarterly online-only journal from the Science and Technology Section of the Association of College & Research Libraries (a part of the American Library Association). They don’t have an RSS feed, but you can sign up for their mailing list which is used only to notify you of new issues of the journals. If you work in a sci-tech library, you should read this journal.

The first article is Science Experiments: Reaching Out to Our Users, by six science librarians from the University of Washington, Seattle (one of whom is now at Dartmouth College). A user survey discovered that many of their constituents weren’t aware of the library’s services, that most didn’t want to come into the physical library, and that the library’s web site was not in the users’ normal workflow. So, the librarians decided to “meet them in their spaces, lure them into our spaces,” and “use the middle ground that is the Internet.” They tried some really neat outreach efforts: setting up shop in the atrium of a building, geocaching, and setting up a blog, a virtual reading room, and a library presence on a departmental website.

Creating a BUZZ: Attracting SCI/TECH Students to the Library! is authored by eight librarians at Georgia Tech University in Atlanta. I was impressed that the library has an Information Services Marketing Group.” This group came up with the following “dynamic initiatives:” “an afternoon speaker series spotlighting exciting campus research” and “T-Paper, a hip, student-oriented restroom newsletter" (emphasis mine). The article has great photos of their efforts.

Mailing list signup: http://listserver.library.ucsb.edu/mailman/listinfo/istl-updates
Science Experiments: http://www.istl.org/08-fall/article1.html
Creating a BUZZ: http://www.istl.org/06-winter/article2.html


This is a wonderful article by Lori Tarpinian [Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, PC, Boston, Massachusetts] in the December 2009 issue of AALL Spectrum (13(3):22-24). The tagline is: “Show management that reference librarians don’t just ‘look things up,’ and technical services librarians don’t just ‘put cards in books.’” Read it to find out great ways to inform your bosses just how much value you add to your organization.

URL: http://aallnet.org/products/pub_sp0812/pub_sp0812_Let.pdf


If you’re planning to attend the 2009 conference of the American Association of Law Libraries in Washington DC in July, or if you’re even thinking about it, here are a couple of sessions you shouldn’t miss.

Building a Coalition of County Law Libraries: A Place to Begin
Working Smart: Innovative Ways to Do More with Your Day

See the full preliminary program in the December 2009 issue of AALL Spectrum or at http://aallnet.org/database/meeting_annual_programs.asp?meetingcode=AM2009&link=

02 December 2008


Not Like Those Other Librarians
M.K. Engle (Harvard Law School, Cambridge, MA] was told by one of the first students she met, “You’d make a fun librarian. Not like those boring ones.” She blogs about how to walk the fine line between a “fun” librarian and a “professional” one. This is a line most of us have trouble treading. Her post is very interesting—as are the eight comments on the post.
URL: http://yalsa.ala.org/blog/2008/11/20/not-like-those-other-librarians/

What do students want to see in a library newsletter?
Georgia Tech University, Atlanta puts issues of their library newsletter in the bathroom stalls. Brian Mathews has been helping to assess the success of the newsletter. This post lists what men and women want in the newsletter. Here are their top five:
Men: fun stuff, events, study tips, cool resources, new stuff on campus
Women: campus info, interesting facts, events on campus, good books, events in town.
Some good ideas here for your newsletter.
URL: http://theubiquitouslibrarian.typepad.com/the_ubiquitous_librarian/2008/12/what-do-students-want-to-see-in-a-library-newsletter.html

Dublin (Ireland) City Public Libraries’ library portals—two versions
A post (I forget where) sent me to Dublin’s portal using Pageflakes. It is really nice. But it has been superseded by one using Netvibes. Both will give you some great ideas. Which do you like best?
Pageflakes: http://www.pageflakes.com/dublincitypubliclibraries/
Netvibes: http://www.netvibes.com/dublincitypubliclibraries/

26 November 2008


“For the SLA Centennial, we’ve been asked to provide an essay on our perspective regarding where our profession has been, is and is headed—no small task.” So wrote Stephen Abram, current president of the Special Libraries Association. Here is just a short summary of his “wish list.”

1. Focus: If we want our profession to achieve something great, then we have to do it with laser-like focus.
2. Recognition: Let’s work on getting someone who values us to be a highly visible champion. [Almost ex-First Lady Laura Bush was a great disappointment in this area. Editor]
3. Confidence: We need to have the confidence of our convictions and take action—sustainable action.
4. Communicate: …to influence the people who matter—the ones who affect the hiring of librarians and information professionals, those ones who choose priorities, the ones who ascertain budgets…
5. Balance: Let’s balance all of the needs of every type of specialized librarianship. Our differences and small and our common needs are great.
6. Learning: Let’s learn anew. Let’s learn new modes of learning. Let’s create compelling content. Let’s collaborate on a whole new scale.
7. Trust and Respect: We need to ensure that we don’t devolve [our] critical thinking strength into random criticism.
8. Welcome: Let’s embrace new graduates and those new members in the first five years of their careers. Let’s invest time and effort in our LIS schools. …let’s welcome a wider range of information professionals from all around the world.
9. Risk: Our need is great; we won’t get to where we want and need to be without taking some calculated, more sizeable risks.
10. Commit: Commit to a future, a positive future, that you create—not one that just happens to you.

There’s lots more in his full post on the SLA Centennial website. If you care about SLA’s future, you should read the whole thing.

URL: http://www.sla.org/content/Events/centennial/visions/abram.cfm#abram

23 November 2008


Audio and video of some United Nations events are now available from the UN University Office in New York.

Thanks for Library Boy Michel Adrien for alerting me to this.

UN: http://www.ony.unu.edu/news/unu-ony-audiovideo-archives-no.html
Library Boy blog: http://micheladrien.blogspot.com/

21 November 2008


The Florida State University library catalog can draw you a map to show where the book you want is shelved—or at least it can for some books. This is a really neat feature and should be something that many libraries can implement. What a wonderful service to your users!

To see it in action, go to the URL below and search for Pushing the limits: new adventures in engineering by Henry Petroski, (hard copy, not the e-book). Then click on “Map It” by the call number.

Cool, huh?

URL: http://www.lib.fsu.edu/


LIFE magazine (gone but not forgotten) has just released millions of photographs from their photo archive. The site says the photos cover from 1750 to today, but the date categories only show 1860-1979. Confusing. You can choose from many subject categories including people, places, events, sports, and culture, with six suggested topics per category. There is also a search box and a search tip: “Add ‘source:life’ to any Google image search and search only the LIFE photo archive. For example: computer source:life” will yield LIFE photos on computers.

I found over 200 images of libraries (mostly NYPL and the Library of Congress) and the same for books. You can see them at full size with great resolution. There’s nothing on the site about using the images, but I imagine it’s okay for non-profits, with attribution (the photographer’s name is included), but for-profit organizations should ask for permission.

This is a great addition to the video resources on the Web. Thanks to LIFE and Google (the site host and scanner of the photos).

URL: http://images.google.com/hosted/life

18 November 2008


Tip’d is a new “community for financial news, ideas, and tips.” Registered users (free) can submit news stories or tips, vote on stories they like, and comment on others. They cover business, currencies, entrepreneurship, green, private equity and venture capital, stocks, commodities, economy, funds and etfs, personal finance, real estate, and technology. There is also a blog and you can subscribe by RSS or email.

Tip’d was created by “a US-based, privately held company. The founders are Jimmy and Andy (aka Jimandi)—regular businessmen who enjoy discussing the day’s financial news.” As of mid-November 2008, there were 1760 current members, 805 articles published with another 1973 in the pipeline, nearly 24,000 tips, and over 1250 comments.

If you work in the business or finance area, this is definitely worth a try.

URL: http://tipd.com

14 November 2008


If you're interested in learning more abou the net generation--and if you aren't you should be--you'll want to read about John Palfrey's [Harvard Law School] presentation on "Born Digital."

They have 5 characteristics:
1. "I blog therefore I am."
2. They are multitaskers.
3. They create content.
4. They create mashups.
5. They have an international perspective.

Read Jenny Levine's post on her blog,The Shifted Librarian, at http://theshiftedlibrarian.com/archives/2008/11/13/john-palfrey-born-digital-presentation.html


The Information Center Connections blog is up and running. Carolyn Sosnowski has put a lot of effort into it and it is really worth your reading and subscribing--I do.
It's part of the larger family of Connections blogs (which evolved from our e-newsletters).
Also, the 2008 SLA Salary Survey was just released; new this year: a breakout chapter for CI/Business research There's a blog post with the details and a direct link to SLA site with more information, including summary data. Personally, I don't understand the salary survey. I don't know of anyone making these high salaries--I certainly never did.

Info Center blog:

11 November 2008


Muchos kudos to Michael Stephens, Assistant Professor, GSLIS, Dominican University, River Forest, Illinois--and frequent contributor to OPL--for receiving the Pratt-Severn Faculty Innovation Award from the Association for Library and Information Science Educatiion. The award is "
designed to identify innovation by full-time faculty members, or a group of full-time faculty members, in incorporating evolving information technologies in the curricula of accredited masters degree programs in library and information studies." That certainly describes Michael. CONGRATULATIONS!

10 November 2008


Want to have some fun? Analyze your blog. Here are three courtesy of Helene Blowers (via Stephen Abram’s blog).

Typealyzer “provides a Myers-Briggs type analysis of your blog and shows you the area of the brain that your writing style reflects most.” I am an ISTP and use my left brain. (ISTP: The Mechanic: The independent and problem-solving type. They are especially attuned to the demands of the moment are masters of responding to challenges that arise spontaneously. They generally prefer to think things out for themselves and often avoid inter-personal conflicts. The Mechanics enjoy working together with other independent and highly skilled people and often like seek fun and action both in their work and personal life. They enjoy adventure and risk such as in driving race cars or working as policemen and firefighters.)

Genderanalyzer determines what sex you write like. I test as 68% and, last time I looked in the mirror, I am a woman.

Readability Test determines what grade level your blog is written at. I guess I write over most people's heads: post-grad college level. I think that's because I tend to write long, complicated sentences. Sorry about that folks.

It I were not convinced of the accuracy of these type of analyzers before, I am even less confident in them now. But you might have better results.

Typealyzer: http://www.typealyzer.com
Genderanalyzer: http://genderanalyzer.com
Readability Test: http://www.criticsrant.com/bb/reading_level.aspx

07 November 2008


There’s an interesting article in the latest (November/December 2008, pp. 20-22) issue of Computers in Libraries. In Failure Is Always an Option, Daniel Chudnow [Library of Congress, Washington, DC] encourages us to look at how we fail and “to be willing to share what you’ve learned when things go wrong” (20).

This is one of the problems with the library literature—we only write about “how I did things good in my library,” our successes. We can learn much more from “how I screwed up in my library,” our failures, but you hardly ever read an article about that.

You should read this article, take it to heart, and write about your failures and what you learned from them.

05 November 2008


I found a neat guide to help you with your IT issues. TechSoup has a set of guides called MaintainIT Project Cookbooks. All three would be good for OPLs, but one is designed especially for us: The Joy of Computing: Small & Rural Libraries. Each chapter is called a “Meal Plan” (a cute contrivance—ignore it). They include: Focusing on Your Ingredients for Success, Meat and Potato Patron Computers, Volunteers for the Kitchen, Computer Culinary Academy—Getting the Technology Training You Need, and Future Menus for Library Technology Services. There is also an appendix on tips and tricks and an index.

This is all available as a free download or you can purchase a bound copy for only $8.92.

The other two cookbooks are: Recipes for a 5-Star Library and Planning for Success.

“The MaintainIT Project is an effort of CompuMentor, home to TechSoup, a non-profit serving fellow nonprofits and [US] public libraries with technology information, resources, and project donations.” It is funded by the Gates Foundation.

Another service of TechSoup is the provision of software at discounts up to 90 percent. There are other programs (including computers) available for public libraries that are 501(c)(3) organization.


Free download: http://www.maintainitproject.org/files/TheJoyofComputing-061807.pdf
The other Cookbooks: http://www.maintainitproject.org
Purchase: http://www.cafepress.com/maintainit
Software discounts: http://www.techsoup.org/stock/libraries/default.asp

04 November 2008


Berinstein, Paula, Business Statistics on the Web: Find Them Fast—At Little or No Cost, Medford, NJ: CyberAge Books, 2004, ISBN 0-910965-65-X, US$29.95, foreword by Charles Cotton [former chair, Globespan Virata, Cambridge, England].

Berinstein, co-founder of Paula Hollywood, Inc., an animation software company and author of Finding Statistics Online (with Susanne Bjorner, Medford, NJ: Information Today, Inc., 1998, ISBN 978-0-910965-25-5, US$29.95), has put together an impressive guide to sources of statistics relating to business, economics, and marketing. Chapter One, Quick Start, has “the absolute best tips” and “starting points for busy people.” Succeeding chapters cover sources of statistics and general search tips, followed by chapters covering US industry, non-US industry (heavy on English-speaking countries), market research, economic and financial statistics, company info, and demographics and population. She ends with a chapter on special tips and tricks, and “Your Competitive Advantage: Estimating Company Numbers You Can’t Get.” There are 32 sidebars and case studies and a glossary of statistics terms (from her previous book).

If you only use the sources in Quick Start, you will probably be able to find the majority of the statistics you will need, but for those difficult numbers—the only ones I was ever asked to find—you need to consult the other chapters. The other “must-read” chapters are the last two. Special Tips and Tricks covers determining what things cost, estimating your competitor’s marketing costs, how to use media kits and company filing to find out about industries, how to use government statistics, and—last but definitely not least—knowing the right questions to ask. In the very last chapter, Estimating Company Numbers You Can’t Get, Berinstein tells you what information you need to get started; how to draw up a timeline; how to find out how the company is funded; what to look for from the company’s products, how they are sold, and their target market; to use what you already know about the industry; to find out about competitors; what to infer from the company’s marketing; how to evaluate how much buzz the company gets in the media. I never would have thought to use all these tools in my competitive intelligence gathering.

This book should be in the library of every librarian (or market researcher) doing any type of competitive intelligence. And, since you should be doing CI if you want to become indispensable to your organization, that means you need this book.

Broderick, James F. and Darren W. Miller, Consider the Source: A Critical Guide to 100 Prominent News and Information Sites on the Web, Medford, NJ: CyberAge Books, 2008, ISBN 978-0-910965-77-4, US$24.95.

Miller is a reporter who lives in Asheville, NC and Broderick teaches journalism at New Jersey City University in Jersey City, NJ. They have collaborated on a wonderful resource for journalism librarians and others who need to locate information from the media (widely defined). The 100 sources are presented in alphabetical order from Agence France-Presse to Yahoo! News, with AARP, Consumer Reports, Hispanic Web, PBS, Rolling Stone, Weather Channel, and WebMD in between. Each entry includes an overview, what you’ll find there, why you should visit, keep this in mind (warnings and caveats), off the record (little details), and a rating (from one to five “newspapers”). There is an appendix listing sites by ranking and an index.

I would have preferred a different arrangement, by subject, with an alphabetical index. If I knew what organization had the information I wanted, I probably wouldn’t need this book. That aside, it is a good guide to what’s out there and how to use it. I wouldn’t classify as a “must-have,” but as a “must-borrow.”

URL: http://www.TheReportersWell.com

Tamaiuolo, Nicholas G., The Web Library: Building a World Class Personal Library with Free Web Resources, Medford, NJ: CyberAge Books, 2008, ISBN 0-910965-67-6, US$29.95, edited by Barbara Quint [Quint and Associates, Santa Monica, CA], foreword by Steve Coffman [VP for Product Development, Library Systems and Services, Inc., Germantown, MD]

“This book will show you where to look for electronic versions of items that, if translated into physical terms that would sit on library shelves, would cost considerable money.” While Tomaiuolo was a medical librarian [he is now at Central Connecticut State University. New Britain], he found that the costs of research were escalating and that he could probably provide comparable service to his customers by using the Web. He cautions, “This doesn’t mean people won’t be visiting libraries. Librarians are on the leading edge of helping individuals find information. ...Nor does it mean that people should always opt for the least expensive resource.” He also reminds the reader that “it is unwise for individuals to trust everything they unearth on the Web. This is where a librarian’s knowledge and judgment become critical.”

The book begins with Free Articles and Indexes: Can You Afford Not to Use Them? and continues with chapters on news sources, ready reference, ask an expert and digital reference services, books, images, and art. There’s an entire chapter on technology: plug-ins, toolbars, privacy concerns, sources just for Netscape users, and blogs. In Final Considerations, he reminds us again that we can’t trust the Web, that some things will never be on the Web, and that the Web isn’t static and we need to keep looking for unfound information. The appendix has lists of links by chapter (which are more easily accessed from the website) and there is an index.

My biggest quibble with this book is the use of Personal in the title. Every library, personal or institutional, and librarian can benefit from reading and using this book. After all, the librarian’s mantra is cheaper, better, faster—and Tamaiuolo has created a guide to finding information that is (usually) free, reliable, and online. What more could one ask? Buy this book!

URL: http://www.ccsu.edu/library/tomaiuolon/theweblibrary.htm

03 November 2008


MacKellar, Pamela H., The Accidental Librarian, Medford, NJ: Information Today, Inc., 2008, ISBN 978-1-57387-338-3, US$29.50, foreword by Karen Strege [Director of the American Library Association Library Support Staff Certificate Program]

What is an “accidental” librarian? MacKellar, a library consultant who has mentored many “accidental” librarians in all types of libraries, writes, “Librarians without MLS degrees are essentially accidental librarians—increasingly being hired as frontline librarians of all kinds and sizes, performing duties that were formerly carried out exclusively by professional librarians, while MLS librarians can be found working behind the scenes in management and administrative positions, including technical services, marketing, systems administration, and personnel.” (9) She adds, “Accidental librarians may be more numerous—and important—than you think:” many research libraries hire non-librarians as directors; many library school deans do not have a MLS [including number-one ranked University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign]; Librarians of Congress do not have to be degreed librarians (the first librarian was appointed in 1899 and the first degreed librarian was L. Quincy Mumford (1954-1974); the Council on Library and Information Resources doesn’t require its grant recipients to study LIS; and some states do not require the State Librarian to have a MLS.

The above doesn’t even take into account the myriad of non-librarians who staff small libraries in churches, corporations, and small public libraries. MacKellar reports that only about two-thirds of public librarians have a MLS (varying from 21 percent in Montana to nearly 100 percent in Hawaii and New Jersey). This is a deplorable situation, especially when more and more newly-graduated librarians cannot find professional positions. However, it is not a situation that is likely to change. Therefore, it is especially good that this book has been written—to give these “accidental” librarians the basics of librarianship in an easy-to-use and easy-to-implement form.

The book is divided into four parts: I. Basic Library Principles (what is a librarian? what are libraries? the people libraries serve, determining the needs of people libraries serve, letting your vision, mission, and plan be your guides); II. Basic Library Practice (developing the library’s collection, acquiring information for the library, organizing the library’s information, retrieving and disseminating information, library services, library policies, library management essentials, library marketing, removing barriers); III. Technology and the Library (public access computers, automated catalogs, online reference tools, library 2.0) and IV: Career Development (getting connected and finding support, librarian certification, continuing education, distance education, and degree programs). The text is supplemented by many sidebar interviews with successful accidental librarians and useful exercises at the end of each chapter. There are three appendices (sample library policies, LIS education resources, and library issues and legislation), a list of recommended reading, a list of websites, and an index.

While not as good as having a “real” librarian running every library, it is much better than having an uninformed amateur who is called a librarian providing poor service and giving the profession a bad name. What’s more, it can also serve as a good refresher course for anyone with a MLS who has been out of school for a while. A very worthwhile purchase.

Doucett, Elisabeth, Creating Your Library Brand: Communicating Your Relevance and Value to Your Patrons, Chicago: ALA Editions, 2008, ISBN 978-0-8389-0962-1, US$45.00.

This is a book designed not to be read front to back; it is designed so that you can read just those sections that apply to your own library’s situation. Doucett, director of the Curtis Memorial Library in Brunswick, Maine, has both a MSLIS and a MBA and has served as a project leader for branding programs. She even includes a sample project plan moving from what branding is through a brand audit to developing a brand and marketing plan. She begins differentiating marketing and branding and defines branding in one comprehensive sentence: “Branding is the process of defining a library’s story, distilling that into one short, appealing sentence that tells the whole story, and then visually conveying the story via the library’s logo and other branding elements.”

Next come chapters on why brand? who should be involved in branding: the ideal brand, the brand audit, the story: defining your message; the visuals: attention-grabbing support for your message; brand standards, brand advocates, and marketing; how to work with outside help; evaluating your brand: short-term and long-term; maintaining your brand; blogs and brands; and common pitfalls and false assumptions. In addition to exercises at the end of each chapter, there are two appendices consisting of three actual case studies and 113 words to describe your library and what makes it unique, a short glossary and an index. I can’t think of anything she has left out.

If you are considering creating a library brand—and every library, no matter how small, should have one—or updating your existing brand, this is the one book that you must read. (I would also recommend this classic: Ries, Al and Laura Ries, The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding, New York: Collins Business, 2007, ISBN (paper) 978-006000773-7, US$18.95.)

The Accidental Librarian: http://www.accidentallibrarian.com
Creating Your Library Brand: http://www.ala.org/editions/extras/Doucett09621


I just posted a book review (Pop Goes the Library) and plan to do more of them in the future. There are only 5 more issues of The One-Person Library newsletter. I have a lot of books to review and a lot of articles already written, so I will start putting them up on this blog.

I hope that y
ou will enjoy this new content. Let me know..........


Brookover, Sophie and Elizabeth Burns, Pop Goes the Library: Using Pop Culture to Connect With Your Whole Community, Medford, NJ: Information Today, Inc., 2008, ISBN 978-1-57387-336-9, US$39.50, foreword by Erin Helmrich, Teen Services Librarian, Ann Arbor District Library, Michigan

Based on their blog, Pop Goes the Library, Brookover, a Library Media Specialist at Eastern Regional HS, Voorhees, NJ (and formerly Senior Teen Librarian, Camden County Library System, Voorhees) and Burns: head of Youth Services, NJ Library for the Blind and Handicapped, Trenton and former lawyer, have created a wonderful guide to creating a library that will please and inspire your younger users.

In the introduction they write, “This book is about identifying and harnessing the power of your community’s pop culture.” (xvi) More of their mission comes from the blog’s manifesto: “We’re public librarians. We believe libraries can learn from and use Pop Culture to improve their collections, services, and public image. We love TV, music, the movies, comic books, anime, magazines, all things Net… you get the picture.” (xv) Even if you don’t work in a public library, you can learn from this book since we are all serving and marketing to the same people—and, increasingly, this means to younger people.

“To us, pop culture is whatever people in your community are talking, thinking, and reading about.” (3) Community can be the hospital, law firm, or organization you work for just as much as it refers to the people in a public library’s district. They encourage readers to talk to teens; they will be the future users of your library—public or special. They include a good section on trendspotting to help you become proactive, get ahead of the curve, and be prepared for the future. None of this is any good if you don’t tell your users of the new and exciting things you are doing, so there is a section on marketing. A long chapter is on information technology and stresses the importance of being at least somewhat IT literate, a problem many solos face. “Technology can both be pop culture in itself, and can be used in innovative ways to provide pop culture library services such as materials, programming, and outreach.” (112)

The biggest lesson Brookover and Burns make is that you shouldn’t work in isolation; use the combined talents and knowledge of your peers, management, and users to improve the library. One of the best features of the book is the Voices from the Field section at the end of each chapter. The “voices” are librarian responses to survey done by the authors in July 2007. There are three chapters and an appendix on programming, with a list of ideas month-by-month. Other appendices include websites and resources by chapter and a list of core pop culture resources for library professionals (e.g., print, web, video). There is an index. The book is supported by a web page with links to many of the resources in the book.

This is a great resource for any librarian, public or otherwise, who wants to bring a fresh approach to collection building and programming.

The blog: http://www.popgoesthelibrary.com
The book’s web page: http://www.popgoesthelibrary.com/popbook

02 November 2008


Jureeka! is a Firefox extension from Michael Poulshock, a public interest lawyer in Pennington, NJ. It" turns legal citations in web pages into hyperlinks that point to online legal source material. Its handy toolbar also allows you to search for source material by legal citation and to find HTML versions of PDF pages. Jureeka! is great for quickly locating statutes, case law, regulations, federal court rules, international law sources, and more. It weaves together a host of law sources into a giant mesh."

You can create tags for legal sources found on the web and Poulshock has plans for a search/recommendation feature. Now Jureeka! links to around 275 volumes from the Federal Reporter, covering U.S. federal circuit court cases from 1880-1992 (hosted at Open Jurist (volumes 1-95) and Google Book Search (volumes 96-281), to several major Canadian legal sources, including: The Constitution Acts (1867 and 1982); Supreme Court cases from 1876 to the present (S.C.R. and SCC citations), Federal Court cases from 1988 to the present (F.C. citations), Consolidated Statutes of Canada, Consolidated Regulations of Canada; and citations to U.S. state cases in the regional reporters, such as A.2d, P.2d, P.3d, N.E.2d, N.W.2d, S.E.2d, and S.W.3d from the last decade or so, made available courtesy of Fastcase's Public Library of Law and Precydent.

I’m not a law librarian, but this seems like a great tool.


Jureeka! blog: http://www.jureeka.blogspot.com/

Download from Firefox (now version 1.5): https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/6636

29 October 2008


This idea comes courtesy of a post by Christine Baker [POH Regional Medical Center, Pontiac, MI, USA] on MEDLIB-L.

Post the first page of recently published articles by your customers in the library. You could even frame them. After a stated length of time (or when you run out of room), you can give the framed page to the author. You could even get the author to write a short note about how the library helped him or her with research (maybe on a sticky note).

This would 1) build traffic (i.e., get people into the library), 2) make nice to your customers, and 3) publicize how the library helps people do their work.

I saw something along these lines at the Cleveland Clinic Alumni Library (I think)--articles and books by Clinic researchers in a display case outside the library.


If you are planning to give an oral presentation sometime in the future, you might want to read "Ten Simple Rules for Making Good Oral Presentations" by Philip E. Bourne [University of California San Diego] on the Public Library of Science.

Quickly, here are the ten tips, but read the article for the details.
1. talk to the audience
2. less is more
3. only talk when you have something to say
4. make the take-home message persistent
5. be logical
6. treat the floor p://as a stage
7. practice and time your presentation
8. use visuals sparingly but effectively
9. review audio and/or video of your presentations
10.provide appropriate acknowledgements

URL: http://www.ploscompbiol.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pcbi.0030077

25 October 2008


BNET, short for Business Networking I guess, calls itself “the go-to place for management.” Their services include news feeds and analysis, special reports on specific business issues, “crash courses” on skills and business topics, podcasts, and executive summaries on trends and events. There is also a business library with “unlimited access” to white papers, tools and templates, and research articles. It is owned by US-based CBS Interactive, they have separate editors for the UK and Australia.
There is a limited (but ample) amount of information available without registration, but since registration is free, why not join and get all of this great stuff. If you’re working with management/business people (and who isn’t), you should at least look at BNET.

URL: http://www.bnet.com


I just ran across this great resource, Library Connect newsletter, published quarterly by Elsevier just for librarians.. The April 2008 issue is all about working with the GenNext or Millennials. Features: how Murdoch University Library (Australia) is connecting with them, the future of the undergraduate library, millennial disconnects with publishers and libraries, and research habits of undergrads. There are also other columns on the same topics.

This is worth a look—and watch for other issues of Library Connect too.

URL: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/librariansinfo.librarians/lc_home


Josh Bernoff
of Forrester Research has just published his newest Social Technographics data. He divides US online adults into six groups: creators, critics, collectors, joiners, spectators, and inactives. More people are participating—inactives dropped from 44 to 25 percent from 2007. However, there were only relatively small gains in the most active groups: creators up3percent, critics up 12 percent, collectors up 7 percent, and joiners up 10 percent. (Yes, I know those don’t seem to add up—they’re his numbers, not mine.)
Nevertheless, it’s an interesting report.

URL: http://blogs.forrester.com/groundswell/2008/10/new-2008-social.html


Susan Akers [Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana, USA] posted some great ideas for Promoting Library Resources to Students & New Faculty on Marketing Your Library.

URL: http://www.marketingyourlibrary.com/2008/10/promoting-library-resources-to-students.html

Brian Herzog [Chelmsford (Massachusetts) Public Library, USA] raises some good points in Work Like a Patron Day on his Swiss Army Librarian blog. Look at your library through your customers’ eyes—it will really open your eyes!

URL: http://www.swissarmylibrarian.net/2008/10/07/work-like-a-patron-day

22 October 2008


Marian Dworaczek [University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada] has updated her very detailed list of Library Related Conferences. The current list covers October 2008 through 2015 (for the latter, meetings of just a few organizations are included--like the American Library Association). For earlier years it covers conferences all over the world and "library-related" is somewhat loosely defined. This is great for planning your travels (and continuing education) far in advance or just for seeing what kind of conferences are being held.

URL: http://homepage.usask.ca/~mad204/CONF.HTM

18 October 2008


If you are thinking about updating your website, you should read Meredith Farkas’ column in the October 2008 issue of American Libraries (v. 39, no. 9, p. 45). In “Our New Website Is a Blog, the head of instructional initiatives at Norwich University, Northfield, Vermont and author of the Information Wants to be Be Free blog describes how she uses Wordpress to create professional-looking blog. She points out that your site does not even have to look like a blog. See the site from Troy (New York) Public Library for an example.

Note: You no longer have to be a member of the American Library Association to read American Libraries. Most of each issue (and back issues from 2003) is now available online.


Information on accessing American Libraries: http://www.ala.org/ala/alonline/alonlineebrary/alonlineebrary.cfm

(While at this URL, sign up for the free weekly ALA Online newsletter, too.)
Troy Public Library: http://thetroylibrary.org

15 October 2008


The fourth edition of
Guidelines for Australian Health Libraries is now available. It is endorsed by the Australian Library and Information Association. The guidelines are divided into Planning and Strategy, Organisation and Philosophy, Resources Management, and Information Service Provision and include evidence-based staffing levels. They cover all types of health libraries, not just those in hospitals.
At this site are also links to two checklists for self-assessment.


09 October 2008


The Dear Ulla column in Impact: SLA Leadership & Management Division Bulletin has a good list of arguments to use on a manager that is not predisposed to let you attend conferences or participate in professional associations. If that’s your situation, you should definitely read Ulla de Stricker’s responses.

URL: http://sla-divisions.typepad.com/sla_lmd/2008/09/dear-ulla-3.html


From British PR firm Spotlight Ideas, here are more articles on marketing than I’ve ever seen in one place. They are divided into the following categories: general marketing and branding (50 articles); digital marketing (35); social media (45); general blogging (25); blogging on copywriting (20); public relations (20); creative and design (20); customers and customer insight (10); search engines (10).

URL: http://www.spotlightideas.co.uk/?p=677


Institutional Library Services: Where Positive Change Takes Place comes from the State of Washington’s Office of the Secretary of State. Its mission statement: “with spirit and fortitude, ILS branch staff enhances the quality of life for unique populations by providing a welcoming, neutral and secure place where informational, educational and recreational needs are met.” There is a great post on a typical day in the life of a prison librarian and another about their quarterly conferences where most of the participants are OPLs. Good stuff here.

URL: http://blogs.secstate.wa.gov/ils/


I want to…, “Web 2.0 resources to help collaborate, communicate, discover, email, laugh, generate images, podcast, use multimedia, store photographs, use RSS, internet search, shop, create start pages, store information, time management, train, teach and do things with webpages and websites.” Over 450 applications, from the always reliable Phil Bradley. http://www.philb.com/iwantto.htm

Friends: Social Networking Sites for Engaged Library Services, a new blog from Gerry McKiernan, http://onlinesocialnetworks.blogspot.com


Three resources have come to my attention recently—ones that you might not have been aware of.

Web 2.0 Resources, from the Medical Library Association, http://www.mlanet.org/resources/web20_resources.html

Blogs, wikis, Facebook groups, and more. Many have an RSS feed so you can subscribe and stay up-to-date.

Researching Medical Literature on the Internet, 2008, by Gloria Micciolli, http://www.llrx.com/features/medical2008.htm

Covers National Library of Medicine databases, metasites such as WebMD, drug information, journals and textbooks, search engines, and more.

Asian American Health, http://asianamericanhealth.nlm.nih.gov, from the (US) National Library of Medicine.

Categories: health and diseases, behavioral and mental health issues, complementary or alternative medicine, health organizations, major Asian populations, and materials in Asian languages.

22 September 2008


I'm sitting here in the lounge of the MS Amadante watching Holland flow by my window (actually, I'm floating by, but let's not be picky). This is day 2 of our cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest. We spend 2 days seeing Amsterdam first. It's a beautiful city.

Just thought you'd like to know.

16 September 2008


If you haven't been looking at SlideShare recently, you should do so.
The newest blog entries are various slide tips--you can even subscribe to them or get them via email.
Everyone needs to create better presentations, so read these tips.

What is SlideShare, anyway? "...the largest community for sharing presentations." It is prooduced by a joint US-India team. With it you can "embed slideshows into your own blog or website, share slideshows publicly or privately, synch audio to your slides," etc. Note, however, that when you post a presentation on SS, you are letting others use it--for their own presentations.

URL: http://www.slideshare.net
tips blog: http://blog.slideshare.net/category/slide-tips/

15 September 2008


I just read about Library Mini Golf. You set up a miniature golf course in the stacks--or anywhere else you choose--as a fundraiser. It's already been used by several libraries to raise over US$10,000. Read Jenny Levine's blog post (see below) or go to the non-profit organization's website (also below) for more information. Who knows, maybe a corporate/law/hospital library could try it too!

The Back Nine Stacks, The Shifted Librarian: http://theshiftedlibrarian.com/archives/2008/09/15/the-back-nine-stacks.html
Library Mini Golf: http://www.libraryminigolf.org

10 September 2008


I don't know if you missed me, but I haven't been blogging for a while.

My computer died and it took forever to get it fixed. Actually, I wound up getting a new one--a Toshiba Portege M500. It is so light (2.2 pounds) and fast (1.6 gig). But I was out of commission for nearly a month. I could do some things from my husband's laptop, some from my desktop, and some not at all. Ah well, all's well that ends well.

So, to celebrate, we're going on a river cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest in a week or so.
What are we celebrating? Our 25th anniversary (August 27), the return of my computing power, and the return of my right foot. (It hasn't really been gone, I just haven't been able to use it. I have stress fractures of 2 toes and they haven't been healing. I was in a cast for 7 weeks--no weight on the foot at all, then in a walking boot for another 2 weeks. Now I can wear a shoe--and drive--but will still have to wear the boot when I walk very much--like on tour. But this is a definite improvement.)

So, I'm back for a week or so, but will be gone until about October 10. See you then!


There have been a few people that didn’t like this article, but I think it’s great. “Evolution to Revolution to Chaos? Reference in Transition, Searcher 16(8), September 2008.

He writes, “In 2008 we are seeing the real action in our world of libraries move form the back office to the front desk. We’re moving from a technology-centric strategy to one in which the real needs of our clients must predominate. Aligning technology with user behavior no longer suffices to ensure success. We need to understand, and understand deeply, the role of the library in our end-users’ lives, work, research, and play. This is critical to our long-term success, and
failure is not an option.” [emphasis mine]

He supplies 14 possible scenarios for the future of reference. They are enough to get a person thinking—which is what he intended. I especially like #14—“all of the above.”

URL: http://www.infotoday.com/searcher/sep08/Abram.shtml