Thursday, May 09, 2013

A Radical Idea...

I was listening to a presentation by a vendor about some new product.  Yada yada yada buy this, isn't it great yada yada.  And the reality is, I'd love to have that product in our library.  BUT our budget is so tight we cannot buy anything that has a recurring expense.  So my head hurts and I'm a little distracted so I'm not really paying that much attention.  I'm pondering the dilemma so many of us face. I have one time money in this years budget that I'll be spending but I can't spend it on recurring expenses...


I then asked.  Why can't you give us a contract/license for the product for five years and charge us up front at a discount for the entire five years.  This would allow us to use one time money for something we want. It pays them for something we would not otherwise purchase.  Seems like a win win.  

Needless to say the salesperson was a bit taken aback.  Two weeks later we hear back that they're willing to do a two year contract and are still discussing five and are not ready yet to give us a quote.

I think this is an idea that is going to really work.  It's time for a new model of purchasing.  I know that in five years I may or may not be able to continue the product but with the way the information landscape changes I probably won't need it, or will have the money to continue it.  Hard to say right now, but I'd have that amazing new resource now and for five years...

Since this initial contact I've asked another vendor for a five year license and quote...  I'll let you know if it works out.  Keep your fingers crossed.

-- Jenny

*I tried to find the owner of this image or at least an original location. Sadly I have not yet found it or I would be attributing the source.  If anyone does know who took this amazing photo, please let me know.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

North Idaho College Library

This small library has a lot to offer any student including an enthusiastic and capable staff.  I LOVE the gargoyles on the stacks.  These gargoyles are part of an art course assignment and change on a regular basis.  To see more of the library visit: 

(visited September 2010)

Catching Up

First I fell and destroyed my ankle.  Two surgeries and several months of not putting any weight on it then physical therapy and I am doing much, MUCH better.  Then my marriage exploded.  :( It's been difficult.   However during all of this I continued to look for innovation and once I was mobile again (look for the cane in the photos from 2011) I started taking photos and visiting libraries.  There is so much I want to write so stay tuned.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Library Comics: Bowling Green State University - OH

How's this for a great idea.  Advertise your library and it's services through a competition for creative cartoons/comics.  Check it out at:

Monday, October 11, 2010

Idaho Library Association Conference in Post Falls



Image - Exterior of Coeur d'Alene Public Library

Before my preconference session I attended the lunch with Chris Crutcher He talked about his most recent book 'Deadline.' This is a book that starts off with a teenager learning that he has a fatal illness and is going to die in a year. Since Crutcher has worked as a therapist he drew on that background and then talked about how we seize the day, or not. It was an awesome talk. As for the food... bleh or meh. MY session went swimmingly. We had a lot of interaction and I learned as much as they did.


Image - Art, Coeur d'Alene Public Library

The next day Oct 7th., I attended the ILA Business Meeting, and then the Keynote Address by Jess Walter, another author. He recently published 'The Financial Lives of the Poets.' He had us laughing and listening hard. "From Bookmarks Magazine:
Walter's wildly funny, heartrending novel is a clever meditation on the American Dream gone horribly wrong. Readers will be rooting for Matt, "a likable everyman" (Christian Science Monitor), even as he commits one painful error after another. Walter's writing crackles with energy, and though he seems to come close to treating some serious topics (drug use, infidelity, mental illness, and bankruptcy) superficially, his affection for his characters and his shrewd assessment of the Priors' financial and familial collapse circumvent that danger. His free-verse poetry, however, interspersed within the narrative, received mixed reviews. Praised as one of today's best new voices, Walter has penned a scathing indictment of contemporary America." --


Image - Story Room Coeur d'Alene Public Library

I followed up this great beginning with an awesome workshop on 'The Character of Leadership' by Phil Eastman His model of leadership is character based, not trait based and is founded on the traits of Justice, Temperance, Hope, Wisdom, Love, Courage, and Faith. It was awesome and I wish we had a longer time to spend with him. I was able to nab one of the few packets and a copy of his small book.


Image - Exterior Post Falls Public Library

I got back from lunch in time to listen to the panel 'How I Became a Science Librarian with an English Degree and Other Collection Management Miracles.' They had a lot of great ideas including using Worldcat to narrow down to specific libraries, dates, and subject to analyze your collection and/or get ideas for purchasing.


Image - Service Counter Post Falls Public Library

The awards banquet was very fun. I sat at a table with the Kuna Public Librarians and had a ball. The food was inedible, but the company more than made up for it. I think that's the longest I've spent lingering at a table at ILA ever.


Image - Internet Access Post Falls Public Library

Friday Oct 8th started off with a bang. The Academic & Special Libraries division meeting where I took notes. I also became the Chair of the Division at this meeting. Then on to the session on 'Information Literacy' and it's integration into the Idaho ICT Standards. It is focused on k-12 but this will help us. If we can get kids to learn the basics we can then build on them in college.


Image - Exterior Post Falls Public Library

My favorite session of the day was by Jim Jatkevicius and Mike Brown titled 'The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Developing Effective Patron Conduct Codes for Idaho Public Libraries.' They did a great job teaching us how to create codes of conduct that were enforceable and legal. Much laughter at what can and does happen in a library ensued along with cases and codes for reference for specific items such as sleeping in the library. Lastly I attended 'Free-economics' a workshop about economics research resources available freely on the web. The handout will be most useful.

A fun and interesting conference with lots of great people.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Utah Library Association - May 2010

Photo's from Zion's National Park: Zion's Canyon

Late last fall I submitted an application to speak at the Utah Library Association Conference in St. George with Annie, Regina, and Cheryl. Luckily our proposal was accepted.


Presentation Abstract:
This is a four part presentation on the evaluation, selection and re-evaluation of electronic databases. The first part on evaluation will include demonstrations of free online assessment tools, review sources, rubrics, and ideas for comparing apples to apples instead of tangerines and kumquats. The second section will have tips for decoding the sales pitch into real decision making information. The third part includes advice on dealing with vendors and negotiating the terms of license agreements. Our costly, recent difficulties with existing licensing agreements will be aired. Lastly, the re-evaluation of databases through statistics tracking and assessment will be discussed.

In our application for presentation we had to fill out learning objectives and active learning techniques we would be using during our presentation.


Sessions on Day 1

First was the Keynote by ALA President Camila Alire. She spoke about advocacy and how all staff, particularly the front line public services staff are advocates. For more information on her speech see:


Next I attended a session on Ebooks from a Business Perspective. BYU surveyed its Business faculty regarding eBooks and presented the results. Some interesting bits:
23% of Business faculty haven't checked out a physical book in the past year.
1 in 10 had never checked out a physical book.
Some business sources - economics are most heavily used
3 of 12 of the most used ejournals for the campus are business ejournals
Libguides stats 182,884 visits for all of them. (18%) 25,783 were for business & economics.
They are using Gale Virtual Reference platform along with Safari, Ebrary and NetLibrary.


I followed up that session with one on 19th Century Periodicals
They shared many URLS:
Victorian Short Fiction Project

Wellesley Index (pay or subscription site)

Waterloo Directory (pay or subscription site)

Internet Archive

Victorian Research Web

Research Society for Victorian Periodicals

RSAP: Research Society for American Periodicals


Lastly I attended a Futures presentation.
Unfortunately the presenter for the Science Fiction part was ill and unable to attend. What we got was a definition of Postmodernism and how it applies perceptually to libraries and librarians.
* suspicion of reference librarians
* class is disingenuous
* hard to use systems seem like control
* library = information hoarder
* librarians are not finished mourning the library


Day 2

Our session, unlike the others I attended really did incorporate active learning techniques. I used the Cephalonian method, Annie used learning teams, and Regina used a hands on exercise. Cheryl began the session with a lecture that had lots of useful and helpful URLS which kept the note takers busy. All in all we did very well, especially for a two hour last session of the conference time slot. Our attendees stayed and a few others came in. Only one left and she told us why during the break.


For more photos see:

(Written Dec 2010)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Google Gadgets for iGoogle

'Adding Google Gadgets to Your OPAC by John Wohlers.' The title really should have been about creating Google gadgets that bring your OPAC, Federated Search and other resources to iGoogle. It was a tech and jargon heavy session that could be very useful. Check out his webpages at:
The Library:
The Google Gadgets he has made:
His techy blog:
His presentation is available for download from the AKLA wiki at:

Program Abstract: John Wohlers will demonstrate how libraries can create Google Gadgets that make it possible to integrate the library catalog into patrons’ iGoogle pages. He will demonstrate other gadget possibilities, including the real time display of a patron’s account via SIP2.

Sabbaticals Near and Far

'Sabbaticals Near and Far: What You Need to Know by Daria Carle, Judy Green, Kate Gordon, and Diane Ruess' was about sabbaticals that have been taken by three of the UAA librarians. I now know a lot more about Fulbright monies. The sabbaticals they did were all fascinating. They provided a list of books and links that would be interesting to have for my own library. Check out their LibGuide for more sabbatical resources:

Program Abstract: Sabbaticals are fairly common in academia, but more recently, job exchanges and work abroad opportunities have opened up for librarians of all types. Public and private entities benefit when employees take a break from their regular jobs. Join us in a panel discussion with several members of the University of Alaska faculty who have recently been awarded sabbaticals or Fulbrights. The panelists will discuss how they came up with their ideas, and how they went about translating their ideas into sabbatical projects. Hear about their experiences, including where they went and why, and what they accomplished. Find out about the process of applying for leave, and learn some tips to help you think outside of the box to create a sabbatical project.

Games and Instruction by Jenny Levine

I attended the session on Games and Instruction by Jenny Levine. Her presentation is fully online (complete with links) at

I had thought it would be about incorporating game ideas into library workshop sessions. NOPE. It was about games and how they teach and what games to bring into the library, and how students think now and... It was still useful and interesting.

I also now have a list of games I might want to buy to play with friends and family.

Program Abstract: Using Gaming for Instructional Purposes
Modern games teach kids important 21st century skills such as managing resources, problem solving, analyzing data, and synthesizing information. Is it possible to harness gaming principles to make instruction more interactive and engaging for today’s students? Hear how some libraries are incorporating gaming to teach a variety of social, literary, and curricular skills.

Games that include reflection and strategy

Cool looking games: Flux, Bananagrams, 10 days in Asia, Qwerty warriors.

Someone has mapped HALO to information literacy standards

Look for "research quest" blog

Board games: Quiddler, ticket to ride, numbers league, carcassone

"Libraries Got Game"

University of North Carolina Greensboro: Infolit game that is open source and customizable for your library

"Quarantined" by ASU West Campus

"Head Hunt" by Ohio State

Here are a few notes I took... Just in case

Carnegie Melon: Arcade games i.e. shelve book and I'll get it

Game Maker Academy and Scratch from MIT

"Librarians guide to gaming"

Trading cards nintendo wii characters of staff and students had to get them all to get a cookie, and they did

Geocaching in the library that freshmen can register to play when the register for classes

Fantasy football research lesson plans

Old Bridge Library services for seniors - nintendo wii's with teen mentors

Breakfast Keynote: The Mind of the Researcher (Daniel Russell from Google)

Notes from the Breakfast session:

Daniel Russell from Google. First this guy was fascinating and there was so much info in the talk that I was unable to capture everything. Here are some of my highlights:

TED: Ideas Worth Spreading a website of riveting talks by remarkable people, free to the world.

Baby Name Wizard/Voyager -

Google SketchUp -

Google "What's That" feature for phones and searching Google - Technology-Driven Philanthropy

Google Trends -

Maybe subscribe to the blogs: google, searchengineland, searchresearch

You cannot pay attention to everything

Look up the study of rats developing religious postures

Good Searchers ...
1. Choose good search terms
2. Understand info sources
3. Domain (subject) knowledge
4. Search strategy (when to change, to narrow, to widen and how)
5. Assessment of the results and the information
6. Know how system works (search site, database)

Basic skills lots of people don't know about
control F
Using tabs to organize results
Keyword choice /synonimization
Tactics for searching

How to detect authority / crap
Hemingway's crap detector quote
Staying on task
Data integration
Representing of info

Librarians need to:
Show the info landscape
Teach how to paddle the canoe and dodge the bears
Research is more than 'search'

Google Scholar is 4 guys and one is only part time. They do not have a "catalog" because it changes all the time with publisher putting things in and pulling things out.

Program Abstract: Breakfast Keynote: The Mind of the Researcher
Research is complicated and has changed significantly over the past century. Search engines have significantly changed our conception of what constitutes research, and yet how common is research literacy? Russell will argue that research is a fundamental skill that we need to understand, and he’ll talk about some of the findings gathered through his research at Google. The range of research skills is broad, and yet not widely distributed. Russell will discuss what we can do to help disseminate these basic and increasingly important skills.

Children’s Voices, 1925-1965: Portraits from the Jesse Lee Home, Seward

The first session I was able to attend was on the Jesse Lee Home in Seward. A local historian (Jackie Pels) was telling stories from her book (Family After All: Alaska's Jesse Lee Home). She collected oral narratives, slides, pictures, documents, and stories to tell the tales of the children and adults who populated the orphanage. It was fascinating, touching, and a great session. Now I need to go buy her books...

Program abstract: Children’s Voices, 1925-1965: Portraits from the Jesse Lee Home, Seward "The story of Alaska’s boarding schools and orphanages is only beginning to be told,” Alaska bibliographer Bruce Merrell wrote in 2008. In this presentation from Family After All: Alaska’s Jesse Lee Home, the stories are firsthand, accompanied by photographs that First Alaskans called amazing, a rich visual context. The Qutekcak Native Tribe of Seward called the collection a
testament to the survival and persistence of today’s Alaska Native elders. Pels will talk about the project and the book."


First, I gotta say this was an AMAZING conference. If you don't like what's going on at the national level this is the conference to attend. The topics were interesting, varied, and on trend. They had assembled a fascinating array of presentations/workshops/meetings/functions. Just take a look at their program!

I presented findings from my sabbatical in three separate sessions:

Preconference: Academic Librarians Mini Retreat: Who’s Doing What? What’s Working and What’s Not? (full day session)
Presented and moderated by Jenny Semenza: While on sabbatical in the western states (including Alaska,) in her quest to find the innovative, the informative and the interesting; she met with librarians at 26 different academic institutions. Listen to her findings and then join your colleagues to share ideas and discuss current issues of importance to academic libraries and librarians. Topics to be covered include: signage, automated storage, buildings & space usage, information literacy, distance services and some of the biggest challenges academic libraries are facing.
Public Services Western Style: Ideas to Steal (1 hr session)
Jenny Semenza visited libraries in the western states from Arizona and New Mexico north to Alaska in her quest for the innovative, the informative and the interesting. Come find out what she discovered to be the best, most valuable, and innovative. While the purpose of her sabbatical was focused on Public Services (instruction, reference, and distance services), she garnered many insights into space planning, development/funding, collection development and more. Although she is an academic librarian, her research took place in both academic and public libraries.
How Do We Measure Up? Notes from a Wandering Librarian (1 hr session)
During Jenny Semenza’s sabbatical she met with reference, instruction, and distance service librarians at 26 different academic institutions. Come find out how we differ, how we’re the same and the shocking statistical reality of those 30 minute+ reference questions. Additionally, ideas for improvement or enhancement in all areas of public services will be shared.
The librarians were interactive, interested and interesting, kind, friendly and they made it a pleasure to be there.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Utah Library Association in May

I will be presenting with my colleagues Cheryl Sebold, Annie Smith and Regina Koury at the Utah Library Association Conference this May 12-14. Our session is Friday afternoon.

Advice from the Trenches: Evaluating & Selecting Databases, Decoding Sales Speak, Negotiating Licenses, Tracking & Analyzing Database Usage

This is a four part presentation on the evaluation, selection and re-evaluation of electronic databases. The first part on evaluation will include demonstrations of free online assessment tools, review sources, rubrics, and ideas for comparing apples to apples instead of tangerines and kumquats. The second section will have tips for decoding the sales pitch into real decision making information. The third part includes advice on dealing with vendors and negotiating the terms of license agreements. Our costly, recent difficulties with existing licensing agreements will be aired. Lastly, the re-evaluation of databases through statistics tracking and assessment will be discussed.