Saturday, January 10

The Best of Times, The Worst of Times

The economy is headlines news every way you look these days. We are
hearing the words recession, depression, unemployment, foreclosure,
bail-out and downturn on a daily basis.

Libraries are not new to dealing with budget cuts and limitations.
I am fortunate enough to work in a library that is in Ohio. Ohio may
have bad winters, bleak employment prospects, and a bad reputations
in many other areas, but Ohio has the nations best public libraries.
Compared to other states we are better funded and consistently populate
the upper tiers on library rankings in many areas.

In tough economic times people are now turning to their libraries for services
they previously looked to the retail or commercial sector to fulfill. Movies, books, information, computer use, and classes are all being used more than ever at local public libraries.

What does this mean for libraries and librarians? This is it people!
This is our time to shine. Drag out your Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney
spirit and put on a show. We have their attention and it's time to amp up
the customer service to 11. Public libraries are used to providing great customer
service on a tight budget and we will have to continue to do so. It's very simple-
give them what they are asking for the best way we can with the resources we have.

I'm proud to be working at a library that is now embracing this philosophy every day.

"Economic Uncertainty Spreads to Library Endowments,"
American Library Association, October 14, 2008. (Accessed January 10, 2009)
Document ID: 516576

Friday, December 12

Library Reading Club Participation Forms

Hi! Here is a link to my Yahoo Briefcase so you can see examples of our review forms for books, audio books, cds, and program attendance forms.

Just click here!

Wednesday, August 27

The Blog: News or Views?

As I write this blog and read other blogs, my mind often ponders the whole concept
of blogs and blogging. Is it indeed a new and expansive way to disseminate and share
information or is it just a place for people to post views and ideas that most people don't care about?

The PC response, of course, is that it is both. However, my blog reader does not contain many personal personal perspective type blogs. Instead I find I use to read news, not views.
It is possible that I am just not finding blogs that speak to me and my interests. Yet here I am writing a blog that I myself would be likely to read.

Sunday, February 17


The year was 1985. The city was Youngstown, Ohio. The college was Youngstown State University. On my very first day attending college I strolled into the library. Alongside the familiar card catalog were rows of white plastic monitors, their shiny faces green and glowing
with marvelous wonder. I approached them with a mixture of adoring reverence and giddy excitement. Sitting down I absorbed the flouresent display before me. My fingers reached out and touched the keyboard and typed letters and magically I was off into the library catalog.

Now the year is 2008. Admittedly I never loved the card catalog. When a card would send me
from my cozy spot where I was, to a drawer far, far away - just to find one book - it made me mad.
In the words of Bruce Banner, "You don't want to see me when I'm mad."

The online catalog is a thing of beauty - a joy to experience. Even when they are imperfect and
don't quite work like they should, I remember the card catalog. It's bulky and cumbersome monolithic presence lurking in my desk drawer. Opening up my drawer I see rows of old catalog cards and take a few out. I jot a reminder to myself on the back of one. Change is awsome.

Friday, February 8

Convenience or Impatience?

A great resource in these times of budgetary concerns in libraries is inter library loan. As a book selector, I do not feel as stressed when certain books fall apart or go missing because, chances are, if a patron wants a book we can get it from another library. Of course if it is wildly popular or needed it will be replaced. But why spend funds on old titles when we can share with other libraries?

As a society though, we are becoming accustomed to instant access. The idea of waiting three to five days for a book to come makes some people squirm. I have had more than one patron say they will purchase a book rather than wait several days and read it for free. Now, Bookswim has a Netflix like subscription program. People can pay for Bookswim to keep a book queue for them and, since they are paying a membership fee, have no late fines.

How will libraries adapt to these changing values? Should we? Will Bookswim become the book destination for the haves while the public library serves the have nots who do not have the money to subscribe? And will the haves be willing to support the public library as much if they are getting their materials elsewhere?

Saturday, February 2

Working in a library

When I tell people I work in a library, in most cases the response I get it something like this...

"Oh, I would love to work in a library. I just love to read and being around all those books would be just great. I bet you just love having all that time to sit around and read."

Is this the most common public perception of librarians? That we sit around and read all day?

Well I do get to look at books....lots of them. I also look at lots of DVD's, CD's, and Magazines.

When I mention the library I work at to a patron of the library that I happen to meet out in the community, they often remark that they've never seen me there.

What do I do all day? Sit in a corner and read books? Not hardly.

I am a Technical Services and Aquisitions Librarian. In my department, we order and process all those DVD's and books. They are given catalog records in the computer and labels so that people can find them on the shelves. Protective coverings are applied so that the items last longer during multiple uses.

Yes, I do get to browse though an occasional book now and then, but i save my reading for when I am at home snuggled up in bed with a cup of tea and my cat dozing by my side.