Libraries – Arguments for the Check-Out of eReaders.

Great post by Bobbi Newman (eReader circ would solve these issues too)
This is the post where I defend our library’s decision to Loan Nooks and make the argument that we should drop eBook circulation altogether. I know there are a bunch of reasons why people are going to argue that we shouldn’t check out eReaders and not to Drop Overdrive so I’m going to handle each of the ones that I have encountered here. (Later I’m going to argue for all the reasons why this solves all of our problems with eBooks)

We didn’t check out VCR’s why should we check out Nooks?
First, I would make the argument that maybe we should have. Then I’m going to ignore that statement, not defend it, and move on to my real argument. We check out books. The thing that we are checking though really, is not the book itself. We aren’t in the business of giving people access to cardboard and paper, that’s just the container for the information inside and it’s a container filled with information that we are checking out to our patrons. In the same way, the Nook is the container for the information in the digital age. Pre-Loaded Nooks are just a book with plastic and metal as the container instead of paper and cardboard. In contrast, a DVD Player, VCR, TV, Game Console, have no content within the devices. A pre-loaded eReader does though.

I hate eReaders, make them check out a book!
Strangely, I’ve heard this the most. We need to realize that information comes in many forms, some we love, some we hate. Personally I’m not a fan of eReaders either. But that’s not really my job. I’m not here to force people to have the same warm fuzzy experiences I had when I was child, I’m here to provide a service to my community. Specifically, I’m here to allow people to have access to information to help them become the people that they have the power to become. If they want to do it with information contained in an eReader format, that’s what I’m gonna give’em.

Nooks require a computer to upload books from Overdrive
Temporary access to digital books through a clunky program is a bad, horrible model of librarianship and luckily it’s only our first try. We can do better, and we can provide digital content through the circulation of eReaders instead of providing access through a horrible circulation model governed by publishers and a shaky (at best) product. We won’t even need Overdrive and our patron’s won’t need a computer if we just circulate pre-loaded eReaders.

People won’t come to the Library to get eReaderss
Well… I think they will. If they can check out every book on Lizards in the entire library system for their science project with one check-out, or every mystery novel written in the last ten years, or ALL of the current New York Times bestsellers with one trip to the library, then I think they will do it. Also, it solved a problem that the publishers recently whined about on a recent New York Times Article – “Ms. Hirschhorn says the reason publishers didn’t worry about lost sales from library lending of print books is that buying a book is easier — no return trip is needed to the bookstore.” Problem solved.

Anyway, those are the big four arguments that I have heard against circulating eReaders at a library. But I am 93.4% convinced that this is the model that we need to follow in the digital age. If you want hard statistical evidence of its success rate, get on the waitlist for a Nook at Sacramento Public Library. The wait for those is as long as my… Well, It’s long.

Got the MLIS? How do you go from paper to interview?

I spent some time reviewing some applications with a written question and answer portion for a position in our library system a couple of weeks ago and it got me thinking about all of the times that I have done this as a manager. The most difficult applications to apply to, and for me to review are those with a couple of questions to answer. But then again, those are the best for you to get your foot in the door. If there aren’t any essay questions, there is always the cover letter. In either case, I’m going to give you a list of the things you can do that will put you ahead of the majority of the applications for librarian positions that I have read. I’m partly doing this for you, but also because when a position opens in library land, there are hundreds of applications that the management team and HR have to wade through so I’m writing this, in part, for the sake of their sanity (and mine).

Be positive
When you’re answering an essay question or writing a cover letter, this is your first impression to your future employer. I want to hire happy people! Everyone I know wants to hire happy people! I mean, even McDonalds wants to hire happy people! And, because you’re deciding to work in a library, I know that you MUST be a happy person. So, when you write, make sure you use positive language. Don’t speak negatively of previous employers, bash co-workers, or even generally complain about anything. I want to hear about why you are so excited and happy to be applying for this position that you couldn’t possibly even think of anything negative while the option of working here may exist for you. I know we all have bad days, I know you’ve had jobs that were horrible, I know you’ve worked for horrible bosses or with horrible co-workers. But I want to also know that you don’t dwell on those things and won’t bring that into our workplace.

Be passionate or at least sound excited
You’re applying for a job! There is actually a job out there in library world for which you are able to apply! You should be excited! You should be thrilled! That should come through in the way that you’re answering the questions and writing your cover letter. You can even mention how excited you are to be applying, or talk about how passionate you are about Anime or Innovative Services to Teens or Database research. Whatever it is, be excited about it! If you’re applying for a library job and you’re not excited about it, I’m begging you, please don’t apply!

Answer the question
Ok, listen to me on this one. Listen very closely! Answer the freaking question. No, really… I’m begging you! This alone will put you so far ahead of most of the applicants that it is absolutely ridiculous. Especially if the question is something like “name a time when you had a conflict,” or “or talk about a time you couldn’t answer a question.” The point of questions like these is to see that you critically thought about where you might have failed, where you succeeded, or what you would do given the opportunity to do either. If you said that you did XYZ, but learned that you made a mistake and after thinking about it, researching it, or talking to supervisors or peers, you realized that should have done ABC, and then talk about why, YOU WILL WIN! Or if you did it the right way the first time and then explain why you believe you did the right thing, YOU WILL WIN! Or, if you’ve never had a conflict with a fellow employee or patron, but explain what you would do if you did and show that you are capable conflict resolution (for example), YOU WILL WIN!! Here is an example of what not what to write.

Ex.
Question- Name a time when XYZ
Your answer - I have never had that happen.

This is a fail. But it is a fail that we see in interviews and in writing all the time. Never answer like this. If you’ve never had that happen, tell me why you think that is, or what you would do if it ever did happen.

Don’t employ exceedingly grandiose terminology
I know you’re smart. I’ve seen your resume/application, I know what schools you went to, I should have an idea about your education level. I also have a hundred other applications to get through in the next two hours. If I have to get out the dictionary to get through yours, your application will find the garbage can even quicker. The best thing you can do is answer the questions or write the cover letter efficiently and effectively. I don’t need a lot of frills or language. I need to get a good strong answer that gives me a good picture of what kind of person you are and that you have the ability to give me the information I need. I’m also getting a clear picture of the kind of person you are through your writing, if you write like you have something to prove, then I’m not going to believe that you think you can do the job. Also, because you work with the public, I want to know that you can communicate with the public.

Have it Reviewed
This is important too. Mitsakes you make when witing a answer to an question show that you don’t take the care or time to want to make the job. There is no shame in having someone review your answers if you can. Always take that opportunity. I know that I have a large group of peers that I rely heavily on for reviewing what I write when it comes to more professional writing than my blog. There is nothing worse than having to struggle through a poorly written application. I always feel bad for the person. I think, don’t these people have friends? If not, why not? But sometimes its hard to find friends. In which case, get on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or even Myspace and ask around. Someone will most likely help you out. If you are a librarian and have no other friends and need someone to review your application, I might even be able to help (maybe).

Don’t write too much
This is simple, please don’t write a long overdrawn essay when a paragraph will do just fine. Unless they are asking for a one page essay, this is a cover letter, or there is only one question to answer, I would always try to keep things to somewhere around ten sentences. Just like in college, you don’t get extra points for writing more than what the professor asked for. If they ask for one page, please only write one page. The extra time I have to spend reading your three page essay, when I still have 100 more essays to read that same day, will make me want to kill kittens with bags full of puppies.

Don’t write too little
Don’t write to little.

Don’t bullshit the answer
If you don’t have a good answer, don’t lie about it. Typically, it’s pretty easy to tell if you’re telling a BS story or not. The better route, as I talked about in the answering the question part of this blog, is to say what would happen if you did have an answer. So, for example, if you never worked at the reference desk, but the question is about answering reference questions, you can say that you have never done reference work, but if you had a reference question to answer, you would do it through doing the following steps (and then outline the steps to answer a reference question). Or, if there is no question to answer and this is a cover letter for a job you’ve never worked, you can say that if you had the job you would do XYZ as well.

Here is an extra tip
All of these tips also work in the interview. Now get out there and Make It Happen.

Thank Your Senators for their Support (or send them something anyway)

Alright team… After yesterday’s Tweet campaign to show support for School Libraries I was wondering what to do next. I mean, what do we do if they do get supported? How can we show our appreciation? Well, luckily I didn’t have to think about it too long. I received this email from Ann Crewdson on the ALA Council Listserv.

Hi all,

I had to share this piece of positive information with you all. I just got off with the phone with Senator Cantwell’s legal aide after asking her to support school librarians. I told her it was “me again.” She laughed. I told her that if Senator Cantwell supports school librarians I would send her a personalized READ poster signed by educators, just like the one I’m giving Senator Patty Murray for championing schools, kids and reading. It piqued her interest. She said chocolates wouldn’t make it through the office but a poster would!

So there you go… Thank your Senator with an ALA READ Poster. I intend to make one from the READ cd from the ALA store and put a pair of tennis shoes in the middle for my Senator (who is known as the “mom in tennis shoes”). And Senator Canwell won’t get hers until she supports school librarians. :)

What’s everyone else doing?

Ann Crewdson
Councilor-at-Large 2011-2013

I think this is a great idea! We need to show our thanks to our senators who do support libraries and librarians. Personally, I would prefer the chocolate, but I see her point that it wouldn’t make it out of the office. Anyway, if your senator supports school libraries or public libraries, at the very least we need to be thanking them in some way. A signed poster is a great way to do this because they may hang it up and it would serve as a constant reminder that libraries are important! Or… If you send a Read Poster that is signed by children in your library or some other little way to yank on some heartstrings of our politicians maybe they will change their minds if they don’t support libraries.

My whole point here is that maybe we should all send our local politicians a signed read poster? Or, maybe a read poster with your library’s children on it? What are your thoughts?

If you want to purchase a read poster, here is the ALA Store!

For a custom Read Poster I found this link too. Its even cheaper than a ALA Read Poster.

#calibconf Battledecks: The Battle Continues!

Announcing the triumphant return of Battledecks to the California Library and School Library Conference!

This fun and exciting program will challenge some of the best Library Presenters in California to show their skill and test their mettle!

Presenters will battle it out to give the best improvisational presentation based upon a set of 10 often humorous, unrelated, and hand-created slides that they are seeing for the first time live on stage. The presenters will face tough judgment and scrutiny from an unbiased and inscrutable team of judges. The best presenter will be determined based upon a variety of criteria but most importantly on their overall level of AWESOME! The most awesome presenter will walk away with the pride and honor of being crowned CLA/CSLA Battledecks champion of 2011.

Awesomeness, entertainment, and hilarity, along with a healthy dose of learning, is guaranteed for all!

Following the state library reception at 7:30pm in the Convention Center Main Deck from 7-8 pm (the same time)

Contenders for the title: (Could it be you? Volunteer!!)

1) Stacy Aldrich
2) Oleg Kagan
3) Derek Wolfgram
4) Lorin Bowen Ayre (Defending Champion)
5) Glen Warren
6) Jennifer Baker

Judges: (Could it be you? Volunteer!!)
1) Rosario Garza
2) Sam McBane Mulford
3) Hildie Verlaine Kraus
4) Kirby McCurtis

Emcee: Patrick Sweeney
Timekeeper/Vanna White: Andrea Davis
Slidemakers: Patrick Sweeney, Ashley Kagan (Burdick), Stephanie Roach
Logo (coming soon): __Anyone a graphic artist?____

Halftime Entertainment: Joan Frye Williams and George Needham in an exhibition Team Battledecks round!

Prizes: (To be Announced)

For more information or to register view the event on Facebook

Librarians Go Tapas! Bay Area Librarian Meet-up

This Saturday (July 30th) at 6:30PM is the fifth in the series of Librarian Meet-ups and the first to be on the Peninsula! For this meet-up we’ll gather at the Zambras Tapas Restaurant and Bar in Downtown Burlingame. This is one of my favorite Tapas bars in the bay area. They have a Grilled Dates dish that is Stuffed with blue cheese, walnuts and rosemary, wrapped with radicchio, port wine reduction and is one of the best tapas plates that I have ever eaten. There is also both red and white Sangria and many other amazing dishes to choose from!

So come down to Burlingame and go tapas with other bay area librarians. You can meet librarians from all over the bay area who are working on amazing projects, sit around and have a drink with some good library folks, or just relax and eat some good food while making plans for librarian world domination.

Let us know you’re coming on the Facebook Event Page

And don’t forget to like the Bay Area Librarians Page that makes these events happen!

Saturday Night July 30th at 6:30PM
Zambra Tapas Bar
http://www.zambratapasbar.​com/
248 Lorton Ave
Burlingame, CA 94010
Phone : 650-344-5655
fax : 650 344-5055

New Orleans Annual, June 26, 2011: Flash Mob

ALA’s first ever Advocacy Flash Mob and Freeze took place in Jackson Square on Sunday at 5:50 pm amid a downpour that some participants dubbed a “Flash Flood Mob.” More than 50 library advocates gathered in front of Saint Louis Cathedral despite the rain to dance and sing “When the Saints Go Marching In” as a lead-up to the Freeze. Most wore t-shirts with library slogans on them to identify themselves as librarians supporting the New Orleans community, just as ALA did in 2006 when it was the first conference to return to NOLA after Hurricane Katrina. Libraries care about communities, and communities should care about libraries. The Freeze Mob was organized by the ALA Think Tank as a #makeithappen event.

Could Google+ Ruin Your Online Personal Brand?

So I got a google+ invite (just bragging)! While I was exploring this new social media and talking to friends and happily putting them all in all of their specifically labeled circles, I started thinking about the amount of metadata that we are creating for each other and about each other. I started thinking about twitter lists, facebook groups, and other classifications in the multitude of social media platforms that we, our company, or our brand, is being put into against our will and without our control.

I understand that people have had these concerns with FB already because they are already doing some of it in a way. But I think that Google is slightly different because people “like” a company on FB or “friend” me and its pretty much exclusive to FB, whereas people “Google” me to find all of my online persona or a company’s online presence. These groups and pages in FB don’t have an effect on people’s search results for me within FB. But, my friends’ classification of me could have a strong impact on what search terms are used to find me or have a strong impact on my public online identity.

Here is another difference, I think. FB uses my groups and likes data to send me more specific and better targeted ads and recommendations. I’m the only one who is really affected by this data because I see the ads and recommendations when I’m online. I see the results of people’s classifications of me. And, for the most part, I’m the only one who does. However, Google can more effectively use this “circle” data to influence the search results for me. Results that anyone can see, that influence how people find me, and that the public can associate with my online brand identity.

This is because these lists and groups generate a massive amount of metadata about our online persona. I originally thought about Google+’s collection of this data specifically because they are in the search, metadata, and ad business. My first thought was how my friends’ classification of me in circles would affect search results for my public online identity (PC Sweeney) that I spent a lot of time constructing. Would it be completely upended because people started putting me in the “douchebag” circle? Would it be possible that whenever someone searched for “assholes” I would rise to the top of the search results because that’s how people had classified me? Or, would I simply continue to be put in the “librarian” circle? Or even… dare I say it? That searches for “awesome” would bring me to the top of Google searches?

But, ok… Let’s just say that I’m put in the asshole circle, twitter list, and facebook list (because that’s more fun). How will that affect my job search or my career advancement? People potentially could see my online brand through search results, and people’s classification of me that I am branded as an asshole. My boss, or future boss could learn about this and it could ruin my career.

While, I think this would be mostly funny, I wonder about larger companies that have been branded by these lists such as BP, PG&E or Walmart. How can they control it? I don’t think they can either. They could try to avoid social media all together to try to limit their classifications. But then what about FB Places or Yelp that automatically generated a social media space for that company? Avoiding social media would be wrong too.

So what is the solution? In the future, starting now, it is going to be more and more important to not be an asshole and more important to just be awesome.


Get ready for ALA in New Orleans with this great library gear!!
Purchases from The Library Advocacy Store Support Library Advocacy Projects
like the Great Librarian Write-out

Librarians Unplugged (Mobile Guitar Lending Library) #ala11 #alatt

Hey! Stop being a “hero” and play a real guitar! This year, the ALA Think Tank folks are all about the power and strength of music to bring folks together. We will be returning from midwinter to Annual with our mobile guitar library. The ALA Think Tank will provide two guitars and various other instruments of construction. If you want to play guitar, maybe learn something from each other, network, or just want to enjoy some good… music played by some of the great talent found in our profession come on by and jam for a while. This is an open session where anyone and everyone can “check-out” an instrument and jam for a bit while meeting other awesome librarians. If you want to find it, you can follow @pcsweeney or the #alatt hashtag on twitter for current locations. See you out there!

If you want to check out last year’s Mobile Guitar Library you can check out the video –

(About the Vid)
At the 2011 American Library Association Midwinter meeting, the crew of the Think Tank infiltrated the conference with a guerrilla guitar lending library just to see what would happen. We invited all kinds of folks to “check-out” a guitar for a few minutes or a few hours. Many librarians and other good folks sat and played. As it turns out, our profession is filled with talented musicians. This video is the mashup of many of the patrons of this guerilla library.

Starring….
Librarian JP (JP Porcaro)
Lisa Carlucci Thomas
Jaime Corris Hammond
Josh Hadro
Peter Bromberg


Get ready for ALA in New Orleans with this great library gear!!
Purchases from The Library Advocacy Store Support Library Advocacy Projects
like the Great Librarian Write-out

Death to Grassroots Library Marketing!! Start a Library Franchise!

Ok, here it is. I’m absolutely and totally fed up with grassroots library marketing. Now, I’m not saying that some folks aren’t doing awesome things with it, I’m just saying we can do better. I think it’s about time that the library starting some real fundamental advertising and marketing. I mean the kind of awesome commercials you see during the super bowl or at the very least prime time television. Or, at the VERY VERY least, late night or midday commercials. But really, what I would love to see is one of those hour-long infomercials like you see for those products that slice and dice and make some kind of fries. But wait! There’s more! I would also like to see billboards, street signs, signs on buses and popups on the Internet and the whole litany of regular advertising in use by major corporations. Why can’t we do that?

Ok, I’ll tell you why. Its because we all work so far apart from each other and our networks aren’t tied together like a franchise where we can do real resource sharing, where our friends groups can work closely together, and where we can share costs on such extreme projects. I think it’s about time that we start these kinds of projects. That we start coming together as a profession to really start a library franchise with a brand name that we can plaster our cities, televisions, and intertubes with. Maybe then we can finally get away from this crap grassroots (read cheap) marketing, start playing with the big boys, and getting the word out to Joe Public about what libraries are and what we have become.

While we’re at it…. Can I beg you to please, at the very absolutely total complete least, knock off the eight and a half by eleven colored paper with clipart and comic sans font that so many librarians pass off as adequate marketing?

*added* I just recently discovered these library marketing blogs. I was going to write more but these folks pretty much cover it all.

Marketing Matters for Librarians

Marketing Ideas for Non-Profits and Libraries


Get ready for ALA in New Orleans with this great library gear!!
Purchases from The Library Advocacy Store Support Library Advocacy Projects
like the Great Librarian Write-out

Save Oakland Public Libraries is AWESOME!!

Via the Amazing Rosario Garza

“Here’s a situation that has not gotten much attention at all: Oakland Public Library is slated to have their budget DRASTICALLY cut, by 85%. Fourteen branches will be closed, leaving only 4 branches open to serve a population of over 400,000. Those four branches will be understaffed. This proposed budget will surely devastate the public library system in one of California’s largest cities.”

So here is where is gets really good! Rather than lay down and take it, the fantastic librarians at Oakland Public Library deserve mad props for their outreach, advocacy, and awareness campaigns. Many of these are broadcast through their Save Oakland Library Facebook Page that has over two thousands likes! I’m showing your their Facebook event pages instead of all the media about it because THIS is how you run a Facebook campaign!! AMAZING!

I’m going to link you to a couple below. You should do some of these if your library is in danger too. (San Jose Public Libraries are your there?)

Zombie Crawl to Save Oakland Library

Purple Pajama Storytime–plus PIZZA!

SILENT Funeral Procession for the Library–at ART MURMUR

Save Oakland Libraries Bike Ride

Save Oakland Library: Guerrilla Storytime #2!

Save Oakland Library: Guerrilla Storytime #1!!

Be sure to look for all the news about that was generated from these great events too. They are receiving a huge amount of media attention and that is where their power is coming from.


Get ready for ALA in New Orleans with this great library gear!!
Purchases from The Library Advocacy Store Support Library Advocacy Projects
like the Great Librarian Write-out