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Meditating Librarian

I am Collection Development Manager in a public library with a main library and seven branches. I'm interested in both practical aspects of public library collections and underlying philosophical and social issues. I'm also a Unitarian Universalist, a B

Updated: 2009-02-21T04:28:21.782-06:00


SIgning Off


I've enjoyed and learned lots from my adventure into blogging. And I've appreciated being able to use my work computer and work time to do some of my blogging. My bosses knew I was doing so - I included it in my weekly log of activities, and I ran it past my boss before I started my blog. I've tried to limit my blogging at work to a maximum of 15 minutes a day. I've shared work-related information I've read on other blogs with appropriate staff via email, as well as posting some of that information in my blog.

In addition to this blog, I started a Facebook page this past July. I do most of my FB activity from home, but I have sometimes checked my FB page at work or made a comment on someone else's page. Quite a few of my co-workers also had or started FB pages. And it was/is pretty wonderful getting to know some of them a little better this way. I've been tickled to see these library people get "into" the Internet social network scene. I strongly believe in the value of technology and Internet "play" amongst library staff.

I do not know what triggered our administration to crack down on such "play," but they have done so, and in an extreme way. I find it hard to accept that whatever issue there was/is couldn't have been dealt with in a more positive way. Staff are not to do any social networking during work time or in the library or on library grounds. One can apply for "approval" for some activities, and I suspect I could get approval to continue my blog. But I'm disappointed enough with the whole controlling, negative attitude and lack on trust in staff, or even dialog with staff, that I've decided to sign off on this experiment. I'll be taking down this blog in another week or so.(image)

Digital Branch


Our Library is considering adding a staff position for a manager of our “Digital Branch.” David Lee King has some interesting things to say about Digital Branches, and I especially liked this post, Doing Unique Things at the Digital Branch and shared comments from some of his friends pointing out unique experiences for Digital Branch customers. He has an earlier post, Doing Stuff at the Library’s Website, as well.

King's friend, Darlene Fichter, poses the question, "what can we do online that is part of the library experience that we can’t do in the “physical” building?" Some of her ideas include

time shifting comes to mind - the shift worker’s reading club
write on the book cover
write in the margins for the next reader (option to show or hide)
hold your next concert from the reading room aka those Xmas cards with different backgrounds and sets

I'll need to check back at his post for comments/more ideas later. King asks, "So - what do you think? What can we do in our digital branches that we can’t do in our physical branches? Any ideas?"


Kindle 2


Shelf-Awareness had a post this a.m.,
Notes: Kindle 2.0 to Debut Today?
Fasten your seatbelts. The updated Kindle will likely be introduced this morning at a press conference in New York City, and Amazon is planning on expanding Kindle service to cell phones. Bloomberg has a nice roundup of the latest speculation.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Amazon will announce that it is making a work by Stephen King available exclusively on the new Kindle, at least for a time.King is a veteran of such deals: in 2000, the horror author's short story "Riding the Bullet" came out at first exclusively as an e-book, but back then the main device for which it was garnering headlines was the Rocket eBook, a product that long ago drifted out of orbit.

And here’s the link from Engadget: and, of course, the Kindle 2 is now on the site.(image)

User Experience


Feb 5, 2009, post in Designing Better Libraries that does very nice job of explaining and linking to other posts about “user experience” (UX):Getting At What UX Is And Isn’tBy StevenB on user_experienceSince November of 2008 I’ve done a few presentations in which user experience (UX) was featured in some way. I hope that some of those who attended them are now following this blog. In addition, I was pleased that Blake Carver included DBL in his “List of Blogs to Read in 2009” (thanks Blake!). The only downside to the potential for new readers is that I haven’t been posting much. Between other blogs, finishing up a scholarly-type article, starting my LIS course (online - and grading 26assignments a week - now in week 5) and heading off to ALA midwinter, writing time has been at a premium.Over the last few weeks while I haven’t been posting much here I did manage to catch up with a few articles/posts that I’ve been wanting to share or comment on. For those newer to DBL, we occasionally offer links to readings that can help all of us better understand design thinking and user experience - and how we can apply these ideas and practices in our libraries.A good starting point is always a definition. In his post over at FatDUX, Eric Reiss offers a post titled “A Definition of “User Experience”". Reiss summarizes it as UX = the sum of a series of interactions. A more commonly found definition of UX is “the quality of experience a person has while interacting with a specific design”. I appreciate how Reiss expands on this with three types of interactions and three types of activities that add sophistication to the simple definition. People interact with either other people, devices or events, but the interactions can be active” (taking some action like asking a reference question), “passive” (scanning the library building for signage) or “secondary” (the user finds it easy to get to the right database because of good design but it’s secondary to the ultimate experience). Designing a user experience requires the act of combining the three types of activities. The first type are controllable and the must be “coordinated” (deciding who works at reference and making sure they have the right skills and training), the second type are the thing beyond our control so we acknowledge the interactions (inclement weather brings so many extra students into the library that finding a computer is difficult) and reducing negative interactions (having backup laptops to loan when desktops are all taken). According to Reiss a good UX designer takes into account both the interaction and activities in creating a user experience that works.A post that got a good amount of attention focuses more on UX design, but helps usbetter understand what it is by telling us what it isn’t. In her post at Whitney Hess writes about the “10 Most Common Misconceptions About User Experience Design”. For example, user experience design isn’t user interface design. Interface design is important, but it just one piece of a larger user experience. UX design is doesn’t end when a product rolls out; it an evolving process shaped by learning more about users. User experience isn’t about technology either. It can be about any part of a user’s interaction with a product, process or service. No computer technology is needed. User experience design isn’t easy. It is even harder in a libraryenvironment. The experience just doesn’t happen; it has to be designed. And good design doesn’t come easy. User experience isn’t the role of one person or department. This is especially true in libraries when there is often an expectation that one person will create change. Shifting to a UX culture will require an idea champion, but every staff member must help design and implement a successful experience. Hess has other “what it’s not” points to make, and each one includes good insights from industry experts.The final reading I c[...]

Gaming downloads and software


I was intrigued by a Feb 5, 2009, blog post from ALA's Tech Source blog. Our Library is deciding whether or not to do an experimental/limited adventure into collecting gaming software (for Wii, Game Cube 360, PS3, possibly DS) for our customers to check out. We are getting rid of our CD/DVD-ROM collections because of licensing restrictions, multiple issues with platform/computer requirements, damage, etc. Mr. Freeman suggests, "I'm sure its only a matter of time before savvy, gaming-oriented librarians are able to use similiar online interfaces to make gaming available to library patrons in exciting new ways."
Amazon Expands into Gaming
By Daniel A. Freeman on Gaming and Libraries
The economy may not be growing, but Amazon certainly is. Amazon's reach now extends to the gaming world, as they launched a new retail site aimed at "casual" gamers that will allow users to download games at less than ten dollars each. According to CNET:

The launch comes just a little over two months since Amazon acquired Reflexive Entertainment, a casual-game service that is still selling titles with its own DRM solution and store front. In Amazon's case, purchased games must be downloaded with a special download tool similar to what's required to grab music tracks from the company's MP3 service. The games then phone home the first time you launch them to verify the purchase information.

Each game can be played for 30 minutes as a timed trial before the need to purchase.


Miscellaneous stuff


These are links I'd saved to my "draft blog posts" document to do more with. But I haven't done any more with them, but still want to save them.
Jan 23, 2009 article about libraries reducing hours, etc., due to reduced funding in Indiana

ALA TechSource blog 1/23/09: Obama, Libraries and Technology
By Daniel A. Freeman on Time-Shifting with Technology
ALA TechSource blog 1/19/09: Libraries: A Source of Free Technology in Tough Times
By Daniel A. Freeman
PLA Blog 1/19/09 post New Classification System for Public Libraries?
By Nate Hill on librarything
Tame the Web blog post 1/23/09: Lee LeBlanc on the future of federated search
By Michael on TTW Contributor: Lee Leblanc

Perceptions 2008: An International Survey of Library Automation, by Marshall Breeding. January 18, 2009

From Shelf-Awareness 1/26/09: "AAP Book Sales: November, Year-to-Date Figures Decline." I was especially interested in the two areas of increase:
  • E-books jumped 108.3% to $5.1 million.
  • Children's/YA hardcover increased 14.3% to $72.9 million

Kevin Trudeau's books


I find myself tempted to copy and paste this blog post from LISNews into our Library’s Community blog:
The Fraud THEY Didn't Want You To Know About
By Great Western Dragon on News
Despite being utterly, and embarrassingly, full of crap, Kevin Trudeau's books are still popular. I've got patrons asking for them every week and I have to put them on hold because they're usually checked out. Never mind that the man's a fraud and a con-artist spreading false information about everything from cures to cancer to ways out of debt, people want to read his stuff.
So while I applaud the recent actions of a federal judge who ordered Trudeau to pay US$37 million for violating a 2004 order regarding false claims in his weight loss "cures" book, I doubt it'll have an effect on those wanting to read it. However, we can at least take solace in the fact that he's also been barred from publishing anything or creating infomercials for the next three years.
More from, where else?, the Federal Trade Commission.

ALA Midwinter


I've been experiencing ALA Midwinter vicariously here at home. Lots of blog posts. I always like to hear what goes on at Top Tech Trends session. Greg Landgraf has a nice summary at AL Inside Scoop blog, Midwinter Sunday: Top Tech Trends. Trends included Open Source, Geolocation, Linked Data, and Economic Considerations. The LITA Blog liveblogged the session, and the session was streamed at

I was also pleased to see a blog post on Blogjunction by Michael about the ULC breakfast: ALA MW: It has to make sense.
The message at my table at the Urban Libraries Council (ULC) Breakfast among
skilled Project Managers, Supervisors, and Directors was simple: use regular,
structured, F2F and online interactions with the public to nail down ”the
mission,” then put “results” above all else in selecting and structuring
projects that get the maximum bang for the bite. To do this well, it sometimes
means saying no, or at least “not now.”

Interesting posts about the Semantic Web, or Library 3.0. I think that’s part of the “Linked Data” trend of the Top Tech Trends. There were a number of mentions of Nova Spivac and Twine. My coworker, Andrea, helped me actually understand some of this in her PackratLibrarian blog post, ALA Midwinter Conference-Day 1

I'm eager to hear about the Collection Mangers in Public Libraries Discussion/Interest Group's discussion scheduled for later this morning.(image)

library marketing


I enjoyed reading Helene Blowers' "Bubble" Talk post on her LibraryBytes blog. The photos she links to are really cool.

I don't do much of it in my job, but I'm a believer in the value of marketing libraries and library services. I'm excited that our Library is in the process of hiring someone to whose main responsibility will be PR and marketing. My real "take away" from Helene's post is her link to Alison Circle's library marketing blog with Library Journal, The Bubble Room. Circle is Columbus Metro Library's marketing guru, and CML does so many things right these days.(image)

Darien Library


The new Darien Library sounds very special and welcoming. Michael Stephens blogs about it on his Tame the Web blog post, The New Darien Library: It’s For ME!. Grand opening is Saturday, January 10th.(image)



San Francisco Public Library (SFPL) is doing something interesting. California residents can now register online for an eCard and have immediate access to all of SFPL's electronic resources, such as subscription databases, ebooks, digital downloads... Sarah Houghton-Jan blogged about this in a 1/7/09 post, San Francisco Public Library offers eCards for all California Residents. According to Jan, "More and more libraries are following this dual model of eCards and "full-service" cards."

This seems like something worth considering for our Library, even if only for all Vanderburgh County, not state, residents. There are certainly people in our community who never come to the Library, but could benefit from our "digital branch" resources.(image)



I took a break from blogging over the holiday season. I think I’m a little burnt-out on blogging, both for my blog and our Library’s community blog. What I write for the Library blog is intended to promote library resources, but what I write on my personal blog is not really directed towards other people. That’s more just for me – a place to keep a searchable record of things of interest and my thoughts about them. So I feel a little guilty about my break from the Library blog, but not so much for my break from this blog. I’m amused that I am returning to this blog first.

A very good friend of ours was in and out and in and out of the hospital over the holidays. She was released long-term Christmas Eve day. Then on Christmas Day evening, a family we know and care about lost a wonderful son/brother/grandchild to a drunk driver. Five other family members were in the van hit head-on by the other car. My daughter’s classmate/friend has a broken jaw and multiple cuts, scrapes, and bruises. Terry, Shammy, and Janay’s mother, Frolonda, was in the hospital several days and had surgery on her hip. She got a pass from the hospital to attend Terry’s calling, and was released the morning of his funeral. The greatest injury to all is the loss of Terry (age 20). It was heart-warming to see the turnout for his (2-hour) funeral and the songs sung for his family and friends, and the comments made about him. And his and his mom’s place of employment, The Black Buggy Restaurant, put up a plaque in their gift shop, donated a percentage of their sales for two days to a scholarship fund in Terry’s name, and will be working towards getting legislation passed to help protect us all from people with multiple DUIs. Terry's dad also has plans to do something about protecting other families from such tragedies. My already good opinion of Chad, and of Terry's step-family of Denna and her kids, has grown even higher through all of this. And from what I had the privilege of seeing of Fronlonda's family and more of the extended family, I think they are all pretty wonderful and admirable. They'll be in my thoughts and meditations for quite a while to come.(image)

iTunes going DRM-free


This is big news, and I’m wondering what the impact will be on libraries and library services, as well as the more general how people will “consume” music (and other?) iTunes' files. Here’s a link to the article in the January issue of MacWorld by Peter Cohen, iTunes Store Goes DRM-free.(image)



Several recent blog posts I found interesting had to do with new ways of delivering things like books and movies.

eBooks on DS? LISNews on Dec 12th pointed to this London Times article about a Nintendo deal with Harper Collins, Mario Makes Way for Shakespeare on Nintendo DS…

Wall Street Journal article from 12/8/08: The Way We’ll Watch

Francine Fialkoff had a nice editorial in the December 2008 issue of Library Journal: Google Deal or Rip-Off?: Librarians need to protect the public interest. There was also an article, Hurdles Await Google Settlement, in the same LJ issue, and a post on the ULC listservs that included a 23-page summary by a lawyer for non-lawyers of the 200+ page settlement.

A number of libraries are getting on the digitalization bandwagon. Boston Public Library recently announced a scan-on-demand program to digitalize public domain books they own. See for more information.

And Dec 11th Designing Better Libraries blog had a post, Learning More About Innovation From Tim Brown by Steven B:
Fans of Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO Corporation, will be pleased to know they can learn some new things from Brown - or at least obtain more insight into his thinking about creating a more innovative organization. Two new resources featuring Brown recently became available. Brown is interviewed in the
November 2008 issue of The McKinsey Quarterly in an article titled “Lessons from
innovation’s front lines: An interview with IDEO’s CEO.”

The blog post also includes a link to a 27-minute video of a presentation by Brown that sounds fun and informative.(image)

Libraries, Funding, and Economic Recessions


I've been reading all I can about libraries, particularly public libraries, and what to do to promote/demonstrate their importance and the need to keep their funding good during economic downturns, and when they are competing with other needed government services for scare funds. WebJunction is doing a series of Tough Times Town Hall sessions addressing these issues, Tough Times Town Hall #1, plus has a Focus on Libraries in Tough Economic Times document that "...pulls together content, courses, discussions, and webinars related to Libraries in Tough Economic Times and ranges in topic from budgets to patron services, and from demonstrating impact to sustaining staff development."

The ALA TechSource Blog had a post on Dec 5th, The Economic Crisis & Your Library Technology, by Daniel A. Freeman.

And there was an interesting Dec 15th blog post, Barnacles on the Ship of Librarianship, from Tom Peters, also in the ALA TechSource Blog, that touched on marketing by suggesting that
Most libraries still define their primary clientele in very conventional, constrained ways -- as the people who live in the library's defined geographic area, or the current students, faculty, and staff of a school, college, or university, or the current employees of an organization. If global users are mentioned at all in the mission statement of a library, they are often listed as secondary or tertiary users.

The time soon will come when the idea of defining the clientele a library serves in very narrow, often geographically constrained terms will seem very quaint and old-fashioned. Usage of information and information services has been going global since global information networks became widely used.

I'm not sure how helpful such a global focus would be in encouraging local financial support during hard economic times, but it might provide some avenues of raising funding in alternative ways. And innovation, change, alternatives all seem like potentially helpful things to be thinking about.(image)

John Leonard


I love this quote from Kurt Vonnegut about John Leonard. John Leonard died Wednesday, November 5, 2008. He was 69.

''When I start to read John Leonard, it is as though I, while simply looking for the men's room, blundered into a lecture by the smartest man who ever lived.''(image)



New Jersey State Library has started a marketing campaign that is really cool. They are asking people to tell stories about how the library has helped them “fulfill” their lives. These kinds of stories can be vitally helpful in times of tough public funding choices.

Michael Stephens on his Tame the Web blog also posted some nice marketing information, Marketing Your Library 2.0, a group class project from Dominican University.(image)

Amazon Windowshop


I just played on Amazon's new Windowshop beta site. It's pretty amazing. Audio, video, navigate with just the spacebar and arrow keys...(image)

President Elect Barack Obama


Having been in high school and college in the mid-late 60s and deeply wounded by the assassinations during that time, I’ve tried to rein in my impulse to feel hopeful for our future and the sort of “hero-worship” feelings I had back in those days. I’m still scared for Mr. Obama and his family and all our hopes, but after witnessing this election, McCain’s gracious concession speech, and Obama’s inspiring and uniting acceptance speech, I’m letting myself believe and hope again.

I was one of the fortunate folk who attended the ALA annual conference in Chicago in 2005, where Barack Obama made the opening address. He said about libraries:

“More than a building that houses books and data, the library represents a window to a larger world, the place where we’ve always come to discover big ideas and profound concepts that help move the American story forward and the human story forward.” And “At the moment that we persuade a child, any child to cross that threshold into a library, we change their lives forever, for the better.”

I know we are facing major challenges and problems, and that things are not going to improve quickly or smoothly. But there’s been a “shift” in direction, and I am hopeful.(image)

Library Intranet


We use Sharepoint as our Library intranet, and I was excited and pleased to see Sarah Houghton-Jan's Librarian in Black blog post 10/26/08 that shares her powerpoint presentation and "cheat-sheets," Internet Librarian 2008: SharePoint for Libraries: Streamlining Your Intranet Management.(image)

Project Management


Helene Blowers posted information about the presentations CML staff did at Internet Librarian this year, IL Presentations:

Internet Librarian was a great conference this year (as usual) but what made it especially memorable for me was the fantastic job that Team CML did with their presentations. Between all the Digital Services team members attending, we gave six talks between us. Three talks were part of Sunday’s pre-conference offerings and three were part of the regular conference schedule. :)

Pre-conference talks:
From Avatars to Advocacy: Innovation through Un-marketing (my talk with Michael Porter)
Project Management: Policy, Passion & Practice
Project Management in Practice ( talk & wiki resources by Macrina Gilliam)
Conference track talks:
Experience Implementing Web 2.0 (talk by Joy Marlow & Sam Davis)
Catalog Search: CML’s Experience (talk by Maria Armitage & Amy Barnes)
Innovation: From Best Practice to Fresh Practice -- this one is mine :)
All in all another great conference. But I have to admit that this one was a bit different for me. What can I say, but... "Thanks team!"

I’m particularly interested in the ones about Project Management. I’m feeling somewhat overwhelmed with all the projects I’m involved with or responsible for at the Library these days. I started an online, self-paced course this week through Indiana WebJunction about the fundamentals of project management. I’m also planning to take one called Transitioning to a Project Management Role. I’m struggling with trying to find a balance between spending time planning and managing and documenting vs time just going ahead and doing.

The posts on the PLABlog about day 4 of Boot Camp, Boot Camp Thursday,
also touch on some of the issues I’m currently feeling overwhelmed by, and that are part of project management – allocating resources. I feel so grateful … over and over again … that I am in a “sharing” profession; that these bloggers and presenters are so willing to share their expertise and experiences with the rest of us.(image)

Resource allocation for results


Jennifer Millikan compared the process of evaluation and resource allocation for library activities to the process of Collection Development in her blog post, Just like Collection Development . . ., about PLA Boot Camp.

Yesterday afternoon we began talking about activities and continued the conversation today. Evaluation and of course resource allocation were a large part of our discussion today. To take from Nelson and Garcia’s Implementing for Results Tasks and Steps:
1. Set the Stage
2. Communicate Effectively
3. Identify Activities
4. Merge and Organize Activities
5. Evaluate Activities
6. Establish the Priority of Effective Activities
7. Identify Activities that Do Not Support the Library’s Goals
8. Identify Inefficient Activities and Steps
9. Decide How to Address Inefficient and Ineffective Activities
10. Assess Existing Resources
11. Identify Needed Resources
12. Select and Implement Activities
13. Monitor Implementation
14. Make Change the Norm

Hmm, sounds a little to me like Collection Development. We know it is not just selection and adding materials - collection development is just as much evaluating and weeding as buying new materials. We do not have an infinite amount of shelf space - we have to get rid of books to add books (the same thing my dad says about shirts in his closet!). Whether we want to admit it or not - we have to get rid of some activities in order to add new activities - sometimes we just have to pull the band-aid off!




Reviews for LibraryThing for Libraries was announced Tuesday, Oct. 21st.

* Your library patrons get to review anything in your library.

* Libraries share reviews, so a critical mass can build.

* Implementation is absurdly simple—one short piece of JavaScript added to the catalog template.

* It comes with 200,000 high-quality, vetted reviews from LibraryThing.

* Your patrons get blog widgets and a Facebook application to show off their reviews—and their love for their library. Don't get why this is great? Keep reading.

We've been talking about adding reviews to our OPAC, possibly through ContentCafe.(image)

Bunch of good conferences, etc., going on


I've been really appreciating the blog posts about several recent or current workshops and conferences.

Internet Librarian in Monterey: David Lee King posts, Sarah Houghton-Jan's LibrarianInBlack posts

PLA Results Boot Camp in Cleveland: PLA blog posts

LITA conference in Cincinnati: Tim's Blogjunction post, ALATechSource blog post(image)



Some recent things I've read about Evergreen -

From Indiana WebJunction's blog 10/17/08:
Technology LEUs Available through Free SOLINET Workshops
By wknapp on Workshops
Indiana public librarians have an opportunity to earn Technology LEUs at one of many free Solinet workshops over the next few months. Each workshop, which range from 2 to 6 LEUs, is either available online or at a handful of statewide locations. Librarians of all types (special, school, academic, etc.) are welcome to register for any of these technology-based workshops.
Upcoming courses include, Cataloging Visual Materials and Electronic Resources, Web 2.0: Social Software Applications for Libraries (online workshop), What’s Next? Planning for Tomorrow’s Technology Trends in Libraries, and Open Source: Free as in Free (online workshop). Click here for complete course descriptions and a listing of dates and locations for each workshop. To sign up for a workshop visit WebJunction Indiana’s online calendar.

The Colfax-Perry Township Public Library, Jackson County Public Library, Lebanon
Public Library, Mooresville Public Library, Plainfield-Guilford Twp Public Library and Union County Public Library all went live with Evergreen within the past week. Evergreen is an open-source integrated library system (ILS) that holds the records of all of the library patrons, circulation transactions, and collection items. These six libraries are among the first eight Indiana libraries to migrate to Evergreen. A total of 19 Indiana libraries are on track for the initial Evergreen installation taking place now through January 2009.
The Indiana State Library, in coordination with the Hussey-Mayfield Public Library (Zionsville), began investigating in 2007 the development of an open-source ILS program based upon the Georgia Evergreen model. Evergreen was developed using open-source software by the Georgia Public Library Service. “The State Library was impressed by the continued growth and development of the Evergreen software itself, and its flexibility to meet the individual needs of the local library,” said Roberta L. Brooker, Indiana State Librarian. “Evergreen was developed by the library community and possesses many user-friendly modules and applications that best suit the needs of libraries.” Learn more about Evergreen Indiana by visiting

The first Evergreen conference has been announced. It is May 20-22, 2009, in Athens, Georgia.(image)