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 1 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

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Well Rounded Librarian by Kathy Petlewski is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.