Posts filed under ‘conferences’

Computers in Libraries, Day 1

It has been 15 years since I last attended a CIL conference. My most recent experiences have been at Interent Librarian sessions in Monterey, but I have returned to Washington DC this April. The first thing that struck me was the lack of traditional note taking, even from just three years ago. There are no pads of paper nor pens to be seen anywhere. If I worked for Apple, I’d be thrilled at the sight of literally hundreds of iPads and MacBooks in the hands of every librarian in sight. That being said, the participants remain the same, friendly bunch of people sharing ideas and hoping to gain inspiration from the speakers.

After a thought provoking keynote. I was eager to get to the first session on 15 web trends for 2013. David Lee King is one speaker at the top of my list at any conference. I find him informative, practical, and always ready to share his own opinions on a variety of web topics.
David didn’t disappoint! His primary message was that content is always first. Good design starts with good content. Design in the absence of content is just decoration. A follow up to the good content was to air for simplicity of design with lots of white space on the page.

July 24, 2013 at 7:06 pm Leave a comment

Digipalooza 2013 is coming soon!

E-Book life has been pretty low key over the past months and I’ve sadly neglected this blog.  Next week is Digipalooza 2013 in Cleveland and I’m hoping to revive my enthusiasm for this media and learn what other librarians from around the country are doing to help their patrons embrace this technology.    Steve Potash is famous for bringing out his predictions on the last morning of this conference and I look forward to hearing good news regarding full integration within our library catalogs, easier methods of downloading, and a host of other things on my wishlist.  Please don’t disappoint me, Steve!  While we do love OverDrive, there are now other options available if our current provider can’t continue to compete in this ever-changing market.

I think one of the big shifts in our relationship with OverDrive this year is the emphasis on Advantage library purchasing.  For almost nine years, our 25 member consortium has been able to pool precious resources in order to purchase e-books and e-audiobooks to benefit both large and small libraries.  Now, two publishers will only license titles to individual libraries who are in the Advantage program.  If we want to provide our patrons with bestsellers from authors like James Patterson or David Baldacci, each library must purchase them individually.  With licenses costing anywhere from $75 to $90 each, this eats up our budgets quickly.  We are then faced with a conflict – do we keep increasing the amount we give into the consortium pot for the good of all libraries, or do we start holding back so our local patrons can enjoy authors not available to the group.  Our entire consortium model is in danger of breaking down. I’m not sure that publishers wouldn’t be very happy if this were to happen.  Perhaps I’m just being cynical!

Look for daily updates from Cleveland if our wireless access holds up.  Otherwise, you’ll be hearing from me when I return!

July 24, 2013 at 6:50 pm Leave a comment

ALA Sessions ~ Reader’s Advisory in the e-book era; integrated advisory services.

I think all of us need refresher courses in Reader’s Advisory from time to time, unless we’re actively purchasing a variety of fiction – and I’m certainly not!  This is why the session on Reader’s Advisory in the e-book era appealed to me.  The panel of speakers defined Integrated Advisory  as providing advisory service that includes all different formats and media while staying focused within one genre.  There are key elements of I.A., just as there are in traditional R.A. and they are:
  • Plot – (For example, in most detective shows, they are considered “police procedural”)
  • Character – (In mystery, you have Sherlock Holmes in every known media whether it’s book, audio or DVD)
  • Theme
    • crime – setting…Scandinavian setting big today
    • Science fiction –  technology is a huge theme
    • Romance – the many ways of love…diversity of romance
Crime Fiction:  Most famous crime setting now is Scandinavian.
     – Jo Nesbo in Oslo Norway with Harry Hole series (books)
     – Camilla  Lackberg in Fjallbacka Sweden with  Erica Flack series  (books)
     – Kurt Wallander novels   in Ysrad Sweden, (books, tv)
     – Peter Hoeg inGreenland and Denmark –  Smilla’s Sense of Snow                (book, movie)
New settings
      – Stuart MacBride series set  in Aberdeen, Scotland (books)
      – M.C. Beaton in Sutherland, Scotland – Hamish Macbeth series (books, tv)
      -Jesse Russell, Ronald Cohn – in  Baltimore Md –  Homicide, Life on the    Street. (Book, tv, movie)
      -Alexander McCall Smith – in Botswana – No1 ladies’ detective agency (book)
What’s Hot in Romance…from Steam Punk to Romantica
Essential three elements of every romance – There is a difference  between romantic fiction and romance!
  • Must have a couple (male/female, male/male, female/female)
  • Has to be some kind of working steps to some sort of relationship
  • Must have a happy ending
1/3 of romance book buyers currently read e- books
Of those, 90% reading on a device
Of those not currently reading on ebooks, 41% have indicated that they might in the future.
Romance writers of America survey: 54% romance read in ebook format.
In terms of popularity, Erotic romance , paranormal romance and YA romance are read more in e-book format than in print versions.
Longterm trends…paranormal, historical romance, romantic suspense, and contemporary romance are the most popular.
New trends include  erotica, Amish romance and  steam punk.
Historical romance still dominates the trend with Regency romances at the top.
Top Authors in Romance
Romantic Suspense – Nora Roberts, Linda Howard, Julie Garwood, Karen Rose, Suzanne brockmann, Cindy Gerard
Contemporary Romance –  Julie James, Jill Shalvis, Farrah Rochon (black) Kristen Higgins, Lisa Kleypas, Shannon Stacey, Nora Roberts and Rachel Gibson
Supernatural Romance – J.R.Ward, Sherrilyn Kenyon and  Kresley Cole
Steam Punk Romance – Meljean Brook and Katie Macallister
Amish Romance – Beverly Lewis, Beth Wiseman and  Cindy Woodsmall
Amish Vampire Romance  – Leanna Ellis (Plain Fear: Foresaken)
Erotica Romance – Beautiful disaster by Jamie McGuire, Zane, Maya Banks, Lorelei James, Anne Calhoun, Joey Hill and Lauren Dane( most checked out ebook author in their consortium) 
M/M Erotica Romance –  Josh Lanyon, Heidi Cullinan, KA Mitchell and Timothy Beck
Nonfiction for Romance Readers
Bonk: the curious coupling of science and sex by Mary Roach
The Pioneer woman: black heels to tractor wheels by Ree Drummond
Dear Jane Austen: A Heroine’s Guide to Life and Love by Patrice Hannon
Science Fiction…genre of the future
Genre crosses over into many media…graphic novels, games, movies, tv shows
Readers may have read science fiction and not even realized it.
Breaking it down
  • Cyberpunk and steam punk
  • Hard science fiction
  • Space Opera…Star Trek prime example
  • Aliens and invasions
  • Dystopias and disasters
  • Portal and time travel
  • Near future and post-apocalyptic
  • Colonies
Rough guide to science fiction movies
Bane is leader in scifi ebooks
I came away from this session with a much better idea of which authors to recommend to our readers, as well as potential authors to purchase in e-book format for our Library.  It was a worthwhile refresher for certain genres and an eye-opener in the area of Romance Fiction!

June 29, 2012 at 2:43 pm Leave a comment

ALA Conference – Books to Go with Rachel Van Riel 6/23/12


How to increase circulation and patron satisfaction

Open the Book is a UK based firm.  was created in partnership with UK Libraries.  Her talk today is based on data gathered from UK libraries only, but she’d love it if librarians started gathering their own data in this country.
Libraries today under pressure financially, politically( prove worth) culturally (to justify our role.)
Reader- centered approach is best way to help.
Assumptions we make as librarians
  • Patrons will ask if they can’t find something
  • People know what that are looking for
  • Customers have plenty of time to spend at the library
Patron Reality
  • Most people are browsing
  • Few people ask staff for anything, especially with self serve and self checkout. You have more conversations if you are roaming, especially if you are carrying books. “Please ask me a question, I hate shelving” was a catchy badge used in one place.
  • Average visit to a public library is between five and ten minutes, including Internet users and those studying, so lots are less than 5 minutes.
  • 3 out of 4 shoppers in the States buy on impulse. 50% of decisions to buy are made after the customer enters the store.  We need to apply these statistics to our library patrons.
The Art of Choosing – more choice does not increase satisfaction.
Opening the Book research conducted in  UK libraries
How did you choose the book you got today – overwhelmingly, response was from displays.
200 user observations gathered.  Of those who stayed the least time – under 5 minutes – 43% checked something out. What were the others doing in under five minutes – probably came for a quick look and saw nothing tempting, so they left.
Books to go – small selection of books close to the door to tempt people. Display might be called Books to Go or “Quick choice”.  Don’t use  bestsellers  there since we know those will go out.  Instead, put up a great variety of books that patrons may have not discovered.
In many libraries, the first thing you see is huge circulation desk.  This is a barrier to interaction and browsing.  This harks back to the old days when lots of clerks were needed to check out books for patrons.  This is now outdated!
One example Ms Van Riel used was a display called Page One.  850 paperbacks put in that area account for  30% of fiction checkouts and 20% of total circulation.
Put book pods next to self checkout, put tabletops pods under windows and on the tops of tables.
How libraries present their books is a problem.
  • We have too many books to show well, so how do you make things choosable. We cram things!
  • Plan an area near the front of the library. Make a few hot spots. Usage of any unit falls off steeply when less than 70% full. Have top notch books.
  • Reader centered approach
Promotion is about motivation!
Sell the sizzle, not the sausages.
  • What the book can do for you, not what it is
  • More exciting and more engaging
  • Can mix different kinds of books to open up reading choices
  • More flexible units can top up with many different books… it is never empty.
Open up reading choices
  • Appeal beyond standard genres
  • Mix fiction and nonfiction
  • Bring books together from different parts of the library together
  • Create customer interest through humor, discovery and shared reading experience.
The new library is
  • Dynamic, not static
  • Tempting sight lines
  • Books keep changing
  • Staff out in the space and not behind the desk
  • Treat stock as dynamic, not static
  • Experiment with merchandising and promotions
  • Prioritize the 75% of impulse choosers.
This was an entertaining, informative and thought-provoking session that will challenge many traditional ideas about how libraries do things.  Although the speaker was sponsored by a vendor, she didn’t try to only sell us their products, but also give us some food for thought.  If nothing else, she has convinced me to get out of my chair at the reference desk and go out to the stacks and engage patrons more actively.

June 23, 2012 at 11:26 pm 2 comments

A.L.A. Conference, Opening Day

I’ve been a librarian for twenty-eight years, but this is the first time I’ve attended the annual ALA Conference.  By far, it’s the largest and most diverse gathering of librarians I’ve ever seen.  National conferences like Internet Librarian and Computers in Libraries are dwarfed by this one!  I must admit, I was a bit intimidated when I saw the lines and lines of librarians waiting at the registration desk, but we got through in just a few minutes.  After getting my badge and bag, I was ready for the Opening Session with our keynote program.  I certainly wasn’t disappointed!

Our featured speaker was Rebecca McKinnon, author of  Consent of the Networked.  She started by talking about the Arab Spring 2011 as an example of how social media can work to get news out to the world, but also how some really troubling revelations came to light as a result of regime change. Egypt was cited as an example of one of the dark sides of the Spring – activists stormed state security offices and found an astounding amount of surveillance data on individuals that had been transmitted to the government. It has become a common thing for foreign governments to be customers of US firms who provide this kind of technology. Ms. MacKinnon used Hewlett Packard as an example of just one company selling surveillance technology to China.

She then posed some interesting questions to our audience.  Can technology really be a-political? Do those who produce technology have any moral responsibility to be neutral? She contends tt is the responsibility of government and companies to make sure this happens. Unfortunately, acts like SOPA threatened some of these rights. Intermediary liability was going to force sites like Wikipedia to potentially censor.

Some companies are actually trying for more transparency, including Google. How do we ensure our private information isn’t being abused by Government agencies. All telecommunications companies should have some sort of transparency policy. Only five companies have joined global network initiatives so far.

If we want the Internet to remain compatible with democracy, then we have to work for it. We need a movement in scope and depth of the environmental movement. We need to be stewards of cyberspace.

Certainly her talk provided all of us with lots of food for thought.  It was a great way to kick off this conference!

June 23, 2012 at 10:57 pm Leave a comment

E-book & E-reader Overload

In the past ten days I feel like I’ve been suffering from e-book overload.  I attended the day-long virtual E-Book Summit on October 12 and then gave two presentations on e-books/e-readers to different school librarian groups on October 18 & 19.  Last night I capped off my immersion with the monthly Library E-reader User Group meeting.  Today, I took a break from this technology and concentrated on producing bookmarks using MS Publisher just to get my mind cleared, so I can do a presentation for Michigan Library Association’s Annual Conference next week.  Guess what my topic will be … yep, e-books and e-readers! 

One of the great things about giving talks to various groups is that I get out of the “public library world” and learn how others are using e-book technology in their professions.  My interaction with school media specialists online at the E-Book Summit as well as in person at the two talks made me realize how far apart our worlds are at this moment.  K-12 schools see a vastly different use for e-readers in their classrooms, promoting them as learning aids for special needs students and those who may be reading on a lower level than their classmates.  I had never realized how the very nature of an e-reader gives the student a level of privacy so that others don’t have to see that he or she might be reading a 3rd grade level book while in the 5th grade.  Media specialists also shared with me how color displays (on the Nook Color) made reading easier for dyslexic students in their classes.   I came away from my presentations feeling that I was the one who had really gone to learn about e-books rather than me being the one imparting the information.

Although I can see a lower level of e-book/e-reader usage in the educational institutions than in the public sector, everyone I met either virtually or in person knows that this technology will have a profound influence on teaching techniques and information delivery in the upcoming years.  Already e-reader vendors (Barnes & Noble in particular) are reaching out to educators in large school districts touting their various products.  Based on the popularity of the Nook Color in the schools around here, I’m not at all surprised at Amazon Kindle’s new release of the Kindle Fire.  This is a huge potential market! 

As I slowly digest all of the notes I took at the virtual Summit, and think about the exchanges I had with my fellow librarians over these past weeks, I know I’ll be more aware of the expanding role of e-books not only in my public library world, but also in the various schools around my state.

October 21, 2011 at 3:47 pm 2 comments

OverDrive New Support

New support system coming in 2011.
Support Web Form coming rather than email.
Customer Satisfaction Survey on each form.
Additional staff added with expanded weekend coverage.
Remote Support.

Front Line Tech Support is for stand-alone libraries only at this time.
Live chat may be considered at a later time.

July 31, 2011 at 4:19 pm Leave a comment

Digipalooza Roundup – Day Three!

Turning Ideas Into Action – Karen Estrovich

OverDrive Training Month – Sept 12-Oct 7 – – Register now since spaces fill fast.  Please encourage your staff to get involved in this great training opportunity.

Install the OverDrive Dashboard so you can review circulation and collection data.  See what’s working and what is not working.

Share what you’ve learned at Digipalooza with other members of your staff/consortium.

Within the next 3-6 months – OverDrive WIN program and more maximum access programs available.  More suppliers will be coming soon.

One Year from Now -
Monitor & adjust budgets for demand
Users will have access to more titles and libraries will maintain control over circulation.
Potential new funds for eBooks
Shift more budget from print.
Spend for demand
Consider additional formats:  music and video

Stay connected with OverDrive:
Visit the training center –
Marketing kits –
Contact the team anytime –

Homework for OverDrive Team – from Amy Pawlowski (Cleveland Public)
Find a neater way to save searches in ordering.
Have a search for publishers in ordering
Have a breakdown for mobile with app breakdown by device
Have a download station for e-books !!
Be able to renew titles if no waiting list
Webmaster tools – xml feeds
One piece of software for ebooks and one for audiobooks
Ability to weed collection
Mobile searching could be better.
Better catalog integration
Better marketing tools in electronic format.
Librarians have access to patron’s library card number.
Sales rank for books by how many other libraries have already purchased.


photo of Steve Potash

Steve Potash Predicts the Digital Future

Steve Potash’s Crystal Ball

4 Categories of change:

1.  Streaming – now we’re known as a downloading library but with the Kindle addition, there will be more streaming for ebooks.  This is expose thousand of interactive and educational products.

2.  E-Books EVERYWHERE – we’re now very device-centric.  There are already 85 devices for ebook reading, but this is a fraction of what is coming.  (web browsers on microwaves and fridges ??)  Now working directly with Adobe to not have patrons have to authorize their device before downloading.  Perhaps OverDrive can work behind the scenes to provide this authorization seamlessly without patrons even realizing it.  (New download stations being tested are all touchscreen.)
This will also mean a higher quality of e-book.  EPUB-3 standard coming out soon.  More robust content will follow this release.

3.  Make Libraries the premium destination for copyrighted digital media.  

4.  Unknown Explosion in Web Traffic -  The spike we saw in January is but a fraction of what is coming.  This may stress out our computer systems, library support staff, demand for library cards etc.  Let’s prepare for 100x times the previous traffic !!  80% of browsers on our digital catalog never check out books – just looking.  This may change soon.  Our libraries need to prepare for this coming explosion!!

July 31, 2011 at 9:46 am Leave a comment

Educating Your User – Day 2 Digipalooza 2011

OverDrive’s new Learning Central for Staff Training :

Jasmine Posey – Greenwich Library - in Connecticut – Their experiences with Educating their users! 

Last summer she did some soul searching to find out why their digital audiobook program was not going as well as their traditional audiobooks. She decided that it was HER attitude and so she decided to embrace the digital technology.  She started with patron and staff straining.  Apple Store came into their library and they brought iPads out for patrons to demonstrate.  They also partnered with Barnes & Noble to do training.  Staff can come in ON LIBRARY TIME to get help with their e-readers, individually or in a class.  OverDrive Staff Training in September became mandatory for ALL staff members.  Patron training became seasonal rather than monthly.  Attendance improved with this new schedule.

In the winter, staff members who owned different devices brought them into the training lab ON LIBRARY TIME and demonstrated them to patrons.  These sessions are advertised in a variety of media.

By spring, staff members realized that format didn’t matter to patrons as long as they could read the book.

When the presenter changed her attitude, use of e-books began to rise dramatically.  By embracing this technology on a staff-wide level, buy-in increased and key librarians actually got their own iPad to own.  None of them have to share it – theirs to keep as long as they are employees of the library.  They will start circulating e-readers to their staff shortly.

One program – “Help, My Phone is Smarter Than Me” was established due to the popularity of mobile apps for OverDrive.   These activities, along with a positive push for staff training has made a huge difference at this Library!

July 30, 2011 at 3:19 pm Leave a comment

Innovation in OverDrive – Day 2 of Digipalooza 2011

OverDrive’s Library Advisory Council created in 2010 to allow librarians to give feedback and suggestions to OverDrive.
Members test software, websites, and content models.
New Open EPUB format – DRM free ebooks that may be used on a multitude of devices.
Boston Public Library bought this new format and had over 200 checkouts in the first month.

Ben Alcorn from OverDrive spoke on more access to content – new improvements coming in Content Reserve!

OverDrive WIN will include:

1.  Enhanced searching – better returns
2.  BISAC subject headings for collection development – better results
3.  Marketplace skins for different countries and platforms – can be regional or age levels
4.  Patron Driven Acquisitions
5.  Format Consolidation
6.  Multiple cart support – you can have more than one cart open in Marketplace.
7.  Advantage reporting – already rolled out.
8.  Advanced Download Standing Order Plans
9.  Smart List ordering

In streamlining the content selection, you’ll now choose a title rather than look at format first.
Patron Driven Acquisition – Recommend to Library – – Let your patrons tell you titles they would like to see added to the collection.  You have control over whether or not to purchase it.  Also has an option to let patron actually decide to add it to your collection if you set up a default budget.

More maximum access with ebooks from Lonely Planet and other companies.
Max access with Disney Digital Books already going.

DRM-free eBooks – 1500 titles from O’Reilly, Carina Press and other publishing companies from around the world.

Simon Miller from OverDrive  focused on the streamlined user experience in OverDrive WIN.
1.  Innovation in browsing
2.  Format Options – no more format confusion – Patrons use a simple wizard to connect them to content more quickly.  They are then asked which brand device they are using.  From there, they see the content appropriate to their device.
3.  Kindle  – Existing ebooks in your collection will be available for use on all Kindle reading apps and devices.  Will benefit from Amazon’s Whisper sync technology as far as notes and bookmarks.  When you go to download, you’ll see “Get for Kindle” an you’ll be taken to the Kindle site but it will be coming from your library website.
4.  Thousands of eBooks offer DRM-free samples (about 10% of the book) and patrons can then preview or place a hold on that title.  This helps with unwanted checkouts.
5.  Site enhancements from top to bottom.  Quicker to navigate, better presentation of content.
6.  Enhanced Quick Search .  Will correct spelling to improve search result relevancy.
7.  “Remember me on this device” option on mobile devices.  Desktop versions will be coming soon.
8.  New Help Resources – all new articles with step by step instructions, ability to share via social networks or email.
9.  Update on accessibility – Adobe Digital Editions 1.8 out in Beta – supports voice reading software and well as high contrast option.
10.  WIN Catalog – features all front, mid and backlist.  All listed with samples and supports patron driven acquisition.  If you decide to purchase a suggestion, they will then get an email and get first on the list.

What is available now?  
Remember Me feature
Enhanced Quick Search at a small number of libraries.
Disney Max Access

Coming Soon:
“Read on Kindle” support
Format consolidation – now one record with two formats, rather than two separate units listed.
Streamlined browsing
Patron driven acquisition.

July 30, 2011 at 1:39 pm Leave a comment

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