The Book Shelf Dilemma

I’ve been in the midst of a move out of my condo in the big ‘city’ to a small town.  At the time, I thought it was a practical and well-educated decision.  Then, I looked around at the stacks and stacks of books filling up my place and realized, I had no where to put any of them in my new abode!  Seeing as I am the librarian who can find merit in almost any published, bonded, grouping of paper, the thought of having to put all my beautiful books in storage made me shiver.

Since I have a limited amount of space in my new home, I had to think fast on which books to temporarily pack away and which to bring along for my new journey.  Wait!  How do I bring my cookbook collection?  I love my cookbook collection with my beloved Martha Stewart volumes and my volumes of Rachel Ray 30 minutes meals that I always vow to cook. What about the new one I treated myself to, the essential Julia Child Mastering the Art of French Cooking?  I know that beautiful book doesn’t belong in storage.

Surely, there is room for my three stacks of ‘to-be-read’ books of fiction and non-fiction? You mean I have to put my hard bounds in a box?  In a dark and lonely storage center…with no one to glance at the covers now and then remembering the moments reading them and thinking, what a great story?

Oh dear, perhaps I didn’t give this decision too much thought.  The mere thoughts of choosing which books I love is for some like choosing a favorite child.  I love them all.  I love them because I remember reading them and most often, how I felt reading them.  I love them because these books made me think, helped me escape, and provided food for my mind and soul.

So I begrudgingly left the books until almost the end of my packing.  I’ve put them carefully in small brown boxes and snugly taped them shut.  I know when I go to unpack them upon my next journey, it will be like rediscovering the rich stories held within them. I can’t think of a much better way to love books than that.

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Communicating and Managing Change

Communicating and managing change is perhaps one of the most important aspects a manager must employ in order for the operations of their department, their library, to function at its best.  By nature, people are not receptive to change, they don’t know to handle the differences that are now occurring at their library.  When the changes are communicated in a positive manner and managed with a mentality that change is an opportunity, library employees will better understand what is happening and not be fearful.

One example of assisting librarians to embrace and manage change is through a collection development resource guide.  Through such a guide, new librarians can quickly get acclimated with their new surroundings and current librarians can get updated with policy and department changes and updates at their convenience.  This central location for a resource guide also provides one place for all librarians to communicate when a wiki or discussion board is added to the guide.

Review the guide I created for the University of Illinois Rare Books and Manuscripts Library

Another example of change in a library is the process of weeding.  Addressed in this presentation is why weeding is necessary, the fears and misconceptions, positive ways to communicate and manage the process, and several case studies of how poor management and communication negatively affected the library’s perception to the community.

Ethics, Freedom, and Access

The Ebook Challenge

I have been intrigued by the idea of Ebooks all throughout my time in graduate school and have struggled with the idea of getting one for myself because of my love of the physical book.  However, what cannot be escaped are the principles of ethics, freedom, and access, both to patrons and libraries through strict DRM policies by companies such as Amazon.  The topic is hefty, and this paper touches on the major issues of access to information, copyrighting and ownership of information, as well as embracing new technology as librarians.  The Ereader is not just a trend and that the library must embrace the technology as a service and not a threat to its existence.

Abstract:

The Electronic Book Revolution has hit the American mainstream with the advent of the Apple Ipad, the Amazon Kindle, and the Barnes and Noble Nook, to name a few of the more popular e-readers of current times.  In fact, the Ebook revolution has hit such popularity that a Google search of the simple term, “Ebooks” brings about over 23 million hits.  The Ebook medium needs to be reviewed by librarians as one more available tool for its patrons just as it promotes the use of the internet and social networking tools.  This underlying nature of sharing, sharing books, thoughts, words on ‘paper’ through the Ebook format is one that is truly revolutionary.  It is through these ideas that makes the technology unique for libraries.  Librarians are champions of advocacy for libraries, the physical space, the print book, and they must also be advocates for the Ebook before someone else takes the reins.  The librarian must set the standard and the status quo with the publishing world in order to take the control back of the disbursement in their library. Considering Ebooks as complimentary rather than a struggle to the library and its services can only expand its popularity in the community because of its ability to bring books and literature together with our digital world.

Read the entire paper

Creative Solutions

With the advent of social media and more and more libraries embracing these technologies, it becomes necessary to define just how these tools and technologies will be used.  One creative solution is to establish a Social Media Policy in the library so that these technologies are used to their full advantage in promoting the library, reaching out to patrons, and in a manner reflective of the library’s goals and mission.

I wrote these guidelines with the intention for a small, public library with the notion that it would be given to all employees at a new hire orientation and regardless of their role in the library.  The assumption is that all the librarians and staff will have some type of use for social networking tools whether it be the youth services department posting photos of a recent event or the reference librarian using an IM service.

Social Media Buttons From Mashable.com

Social networking is an important part of the library communications with our patrons.  It allows us as librarians to use various online tools such as email, Facebook, Flickr, Twitter and instant messaging in order to virtually answer reference questions, share book reviews for reader’s advisory services, and even keep the local and larger communities connected to our library through discussions and photos.

Remember most, that the reputation of the library, its employees and the community it serves is foremost when posting to the web.

We advise all those working in our library to keep the following in mind when using our social networking tools for library purposes:

Communication

Our social networking tools are used in order to not only provide service, but to community and learn with our fellow librarians and industry professionals, our patrons, and the community around us.  We encourage everyone to seek out new uses of our tools, develop relationships through these tools and to learn more about the people we serve.

The social networking tools we use at our library are as typical as the majority norm of Facebook and Twitter and yet must remain fluid to keep up with the advances in social networking and technology.  If a social networking tool becomes obsolete or we find another tool more apparent that serves our needs and the patron’s needs, all efforts will be made to review the tool and test it in real use.

Respect

Please remember that even though we are online through social networking tools and our patrons or fellow employees don’t see us, we are still visible.  We must maintain professionalism and service through our choice of words and (for example, typing in all caps can often mean you are shouting to the other person), in addition to the actual answers and information we provide punctuation even though the tone of our communications can be more conversational.

When in doubt of whether or not the information you are posting or using, use the side of caution and save a draft.  Look at the information an hour later and if you still agree with the post, move forward.

Privacy

We also need to be aware that not all patrons want to share their information and may only provide a first name or just an email address, and that they are our patrons seeking our help.  We also need to be sure to get permission of patrons when posting photos, captions, names and other personal type of information.

In addition, we also need to be aware to not disclose any personal information about our coworkers or other sensitive library operations information that is not public knowledge, such as salaries or board member phone numbers.

For questions about or suggestions to these guidelines, please send them to the technology department.  The department also reviews our social networking sites regularly to ensure they adhere to these guidelines, maintain professionalism and legality.

Philosophy of Service

An important, almost gallant aspect in librarianship, is that of service, to the patrons and to the community it serves.  Below is an example of two outreach programs. These programs not only create access of information to those that may otherwise not have it, but also displays how the librarian embraces a philosophy of service to their community.  It is this philosophy that make such a program useful and helpful, to what is often an underserved patron group.

Program Outline:  Outreach Program to Teens

Theme: Teen Pregnancy, address the needs of pregnant teenagers, their parents, and those who are already teenage parents.

Statement of problem and need

The program is necessary even in the wealthiest communities because every year, an estimated 750,000 adolescents 15-19 years become pregnant according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in Washington DC.  According to the Illinois Department of Public Health and Human Services, Teen Parent Services, 4,100 Illinois women younger than 19 draw public assistance every year.  Illinois is also ranked 18th out of all 50 states in teenage birth rates and above the national rate of 56.8 out of 1,000 births at a rank of 60. In addition to such statistics, sex in general, especially sex education, is often a taboo topic.  The library is needed to address teenage pregnancy because the library is a neutral informational facility where parents and teenagers can go together to get information or guidance without judgment and maintain privacy.

Statement of a solution or answer

If there is a program in the library addressing teenage pregnancy, it would promote public awareness, including teenagers, of the increasing situation and provide another educational opportunity other than school, on the consequences of unprotected sex.   The program would also provide education for future pregnant teenagers on their options and also for those young teenage mothers that need parenting advice.

Project Description

The target audience is teenage parents, pregnant teens, and their parents needing information and advice.  In the library, a pathfinder of books relevant to sex education, teenage pregnancy, adoption, abortion, parenting will be available for checkout.  The pathfinder will detail where the books can be found.  Each month, a different counselor or professional whose focus is teen pregnancy will be at each session to facilitate.  Materials will be available from the agencies presenting.  These agencies we partner with will also cooperate in assisting with promotion of the program to their teenagers.

Best Information Resources

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists http://www.acog.org/

Medline Plus from the US National Library of Medicine http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/

The Illinois Department of Human and Health Services http://www.hfs.illinois.gov/

The Rural Assistance Center’s Guide to Teen Preganancy http://www.raconline.org/info_guides/teenpregnancy/

The American Pregnancy Association http://www.americanpregnancy.org/links/#TeenPregnancy

Positive and negative issues and/or concerns

The biggest issue or concern we have is the controversial nature of the topic and the appropriation of funds to an underserved or challenged group of people.  The library staff would need to be educated on teenage pregnancy, statistics, and the local agencies.  In addition, the staff would need to be able to answer the challenging questions, and especially for those that don’t agree with the program being held.    In choosing materials, we would need to ensure they are as objective as possible and offer a variety to satisfy all options of the teenager in need.  The groups or agencies involved would need to be screened and approved by the head of teen services to again ensure objectivity and privacy of the participants.

Overview of budget

  • AV equipment already held by the library
  • 1 staff member present for the hour program, greeting before and closing after
  • $150 per speaker each month includes all their costs and handouts
  • $30 each month for pizza, pop and paper goods
  • No charge to attend, but registration will be required

Overview of timeline

The program will be promoted through in the library through the website, social networking tools, newsletter, and through flyers and signs in the teen department.  The program will also be promoted through signs and flyers at the speakers’ agencies and at hospitals and other health facilities such as free clinics and doctor’s offices.  We will also reach out to local high school nurses and health educators for librarians to speak to classrooms announcing the program and encouraging attendance.  A press release to announce the program to the larger public will also be distributed to local newspapers for inclusion in their community events or calendar.

Promotion through these outlets will be on an ongoing basis once the program is approved to move forward.

Evaluation will be done by providing quick surveys after each session to attendees.  A once-a-year survey will be done for those that attended several or all sessions.

One example of some demonstrable aspect of the program

The librarian will close the program with a book talk of a useful book offered in the library, which each of us will demonstrate.


Program Outline:  Outreach Program to Older Children

Theme: “Choose Your Own Display”; Bringing creativity outlets to kids.  The theme of the book display is chosen by the children and voted on through a form from the library.

Target Audience: Children ages 9-12, approximate grades 4th, 5th and 6th.  If used in a public library setting, these children will ideally have some interest in art whether it is through painting, drawing, photography, scrapbooking, etc.   If used in a classroom setting, the children would then be part of a specific class or as an after-school club activity.

Program Basics and Format:

The children will be given the opportunity to decorate and create a book display, and choose the books in the display.  The book display will be in the juvenile section of the library and overseen by the youth services department.

The program while ultimately ending in the public library, can also be executed at the local community center, park district facility or as an after school activity by involving the local school librarian.  If used in a school setting, more thematic approaches or specific types of artistic methods could also be used to correspond with the class curriculum of either art class or language arts/reading class or a combination of the two.

The logistical format of the program will be kept simple to allow for the arts and crafts to take center stage.  Voting sheets will be available at the youth services and circulation desks for children to circle their favorite theme from a variety of topics.  The form will also have write-in spots for favorite authors, series books or other topic not listed.  The theme with the most results after the deadline noted will then be the display theme that month!  The display will run for 1 month, with the voting and actual arts and crafts creation to be done in the previous month.  The first display will require a longer timeframe so as to setup the schedule with voting to take place for 1 month and the arts and crafts to commence the second month.

Rationale, Goals and Objectives:

The purpose of the program is to provide a venue for those children interested in art living or going to school in an area that does not support an art program.  It also offers a free venue for children who cannot afford art classes through the park district while still contributing their community.  The ultimate goal of the program is to provide young artists a place to grow in their artistic talents, exhibit their work, and have fun!  The program would serve different displays each month giving multiple children the opportunity to contribute regularly.

Materials used:

These will change each month, but a set budget should be in place to determine the amount and types of materials.  Basics would include crayons, markers, construction paper, poster board, glue and enhancements such as glitter and ribbon.  Materials would also be needed to create promotional flyers and posters in the library and/or school classroom.  Flickr would be used to provide initial ideas of displays until actual photos of the library’s own displays could be used.

Promotion Plan:

The program will be promoted in the library through the website, newsletter and its own “arts & crafts” display.  The program will also be promoted at the local community centers and park district art classes through flyers and posters. Further promotion can happen at local bookstores, arts & crafts or ‘pottery painting’ stores where children and adults may go together.   The public librarian and the local elementary school librarians and art teachers will also work together to tell students about the program and encourage participation, perhaps even adding it to one or two class’s curriculum.  The display will be photographed and promoted each month through the library website and newsletters to show children and parents how creative and fun the program is to encourage more participation.

Evaluation:

Do the children participate?  Do more children participate each month?

Are there enough votes gathered each month to facilitate different displays?

Do the children comment on the new displays or ask how they can get involved?