Awesome Somerville Public Library

Harvard Library and the Somerville Public Library:

Innovation and Collaboration

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Best of Publib received the following press release from the Somerville Public Library in Somerville, Massachusetts:

Matt Phillips and Annie Cain

Matt Phillips and Annie Cain – Creators of the Awesome Box

The Somerville Public Library, in a partnership with the Harvard Library Innovation Lab, launched the “Awesome Box” project at all three SPL branches in early February. This endeavor will allow patrons to give fellow users suggestions on what book/CD/DVD they found to be “awesome.”

“Somerville is the first public library to get on board with the ‘Awesome Box’ project,” says Maria Carpenter, Somerville’s library director. “We are always looking for dynamic, innovative and creative approaches to library service, and this was certainly one of those.”

Awesome Box

Awesome Box

Here’s how it will work: When a patron particularly enjoys an item, he or she will return the book into the “Awesome Box,” which will be clearly labeled with appropriate signage. Then, a library staff member will scan the book twice – once, checking the book in as usual, then another time to list that item on the “awesome” page, which can be found here: http://somerville.awesomebox.io/.

Patrons can then visit the page and see what others have found notably enlightening, mind-blowing or helpful recently. There is also a “most awesome” section, which shows the items that were most thought to be awesome. Users can also search for items that are listed as awesome. When patrons click on the media’s icon, it takes them to the item’s listing on the Minuteman Library Network catalog, so that they can read more about the item and its availability or place it on hold.

For more information about this project, call Maria Carpenter at 617.623.5000 or email her at  mcarpenter@somervillema.gov.

Awesome Somerville

Awesome Somerville

Somerville’s commitment to innovation and collaboration can be emulated by any other public library.  The Harvard Innovation Lab provides excellent documentation along with step-by-step instruction.   The Awesome Box project is just one direction they are exploring.

The great thing about this sort of project is that it capitalizes on patron momentum.  Whenever a patron returns a book or media, they either put it in the regular book drop or express their approval by putting it in the Awesome Box. Either way, the same energy is expended with an added value to the library as a book or media review.

There is an added value to the patron with their likes and preferences registered and noted. There is also an added value to all of the other patrons who might not otherwise know what gems the library contains. The only extra step is checking it in – scanning a second time  to register in the Awesome database.

Awesome Box - a simple, elegant idea.

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Favorite Books of 2012

Favorite Books for 2012 – Library Inspired Selections

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On November 15, 2012 David Faulkner david.faulkner@austintexas.gov via listserv.oclc.org announced on Publib :

What is the best book you read this year? The book could have been published any year as what matters is that you read it in 2012.

Let me know either through Publib or via my email david.faulkner@austintexas.gov and I’ll compile the results and make them available early in the new year – you are free to nominate as many books as you want..

All genres and forms of books are open so nominate your favorite:

  • graphic novel
  • children’s book
  • romance novel
  • audiobook, etc.

This will be the 10th year I’ve compiled this list so if you’d like to see previous lists you can find them all on Best of Publib ~

David
Austin (TX) Public Library

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Publib Favorite Books 2011

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By David Faulkner -

As a member of PubLib, an electronic discussion list for public libraries, I asked fellow members to name the book they most enjoyed reading that year. Here is the list for 2011 :

 

Title Author Votes
22 Britannia Road Hodgkinson, Amanda 1
Albion: The Origins of the English Imagination Ackroyd, Peter 1
Alchemist, The Coelho, Paulo 1
All Clear Willis, Connie 1
All the Way to America: The Story of a Big Italian Family and a Little Shovel Yaccarino, Dan 1
American on Purpose: The Improbable Adventures of an Unlikely Patriot Ferguson, Craig 1
Angel Town Saintcrow, Lilith 1
Art of Fielding, The Harbach, Chad 1
Art of Racing in the Rain, The Stein, Garth 2
Ashes Bick, Ilsa J. 1
Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb, The Benjamin, Melanie 1
Barbarian Nurseries, The Tobar, Hector 1
Becoming Marie-Antoinette Grey, Juliet 1
Before I Go To Sleep Watson, S. J. 1
Black Lamb & Grey Falcon West, Rebecca 1
Blackout Willis, Connie 1
Book of Days (Book 5 of the JP Kinkaid Chronicles) Grabien, Deborah 1
Bossypants Fey, Tina 2
Boy in the Suitcase, The Kaaberbol, Lene and Agnete Friis 1
Buddha in the Attic, The Otsuka, Julie 1
Clara and Mr. Tiffany Vreeland, Susan 1
Commencement Sullivan, J. Courtney 1
Dark Tower, The series King, Stephen 1
Detective Kubu Mystery series Stanley, Michael 1
Devotion of Suspect X, The Higashino, Keigo 1
Discovery of Witches, A Harkness, Deborah 2
Distant Hours, The Morton, Kate 1
Elizabeth I George, Margaret 1
Elizabeth I trilogy Irwin, Margaret 1
Everybody Sees the Ants King, A.S. 1
Fabulous New Orleans Saxon, Lyle 1
Fahrenheit 451 Bradbury, Ray 1
Following Atticus: Forty-Eight High Peaks, One Little Dog, and an Extraordinary Friendship Ryan, Tom 1
Forgotten Garden, The Morton, Kate 1
Girl Who Fell From the Sky, The Durrow, Heidi W 1
Graveyard Book, The Gaiman, Neil 1
Her Fearful Symmetry Niffenegger, Audrey 1
Hold Me Closer, Necromancer McBride, Lish 1
How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization Woods, Jr., Thomas E. 1
Hunger Games, The Collins, Suzanne 1
In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto Pollan, Michael 1
Information, The: A History, a Theory, a Flood Gleick, James 1
Island, The Hilderbrand, Elin 1
Joy for Beginners Bauermeister, Erica 1
Just Kids Smith, Patti 1
King’s Daughter, The Dickason, Christie 1
Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded: August 27, 1883 Winchester, Simon 1
Language of Flowers, The Diffenbaugh, Vanessa 1
Left Neglected Genova, Lisa 1
Leftovers, The Perrotta, Tom 1
Makers Doctorow, Cory 1
Middlemarch Eliot, George 1
Miss Silver Mystery series Wentworth, Patricia 1
Monster Calls, A Ness, Patrick 1
Night Circus, The Morgenstern, Erin 4
Passionate Mistakes and Intricate Corruption of One Girl in America, The Tea, Michelle 1
Pirate King: A Novel of Suspense Featuring Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes (Russell and Holmes, Book 11) King, Laurie R. 1
Please Look After Mom Shin, Kyung-Sook 1
Ready Player One Cline, Ernest 2
Reamde Stephenson, Neal 1
Redwall Jacques, Brian 1
Reveille in Washington: 1860-1865 Leech, Margaret 1
Richard the Lionheart Gillingham, John 1
Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend Orlean, Susan 1
Rules of Civility Towles, Amor 1
Secret Kept, A Rosnay, Tatiana de 1
Song of Ice and Fire, A series Martin, George R.R. 1
Sound of a Wild Snail Eating, The Bailey, Elisabeth Tova 1
Steve Jobs Isaacson, Walter 1
Tess of the D’Urbervilles Hardy, Thomas 1
Tigerlily’s Orchids Rendell, Ruth 1
Unfamiliar Fishes Vowell, Sarah 1
Untold Story Ali, Monica 1
Weird Sisters, The Brown, Eleanor 1
What is Left the Daughter Norman, Howard 1
When She Woke Jordan, Hillary 1
Zero Day Baldacci, David 1
Zero History Gibson, William 1

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Civil War 150: DC

Civil War 150 : District of Columbia and Freedom Rising

~ Elisa Babel, MLS

Fort Sumter

This month marks the 150th anniversary of the Civil War–the opening salvo was at Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor in the early morning hours on April 12, 1861.

The war not only changed the nation–it also changed Washington, DC as a capitol and hometown.

Last month I read Ernest Furgurson’s Freedom Rising, a nonfiction book about DC during the Civil War years. Since I work in DC, the 150th anniversary seemed like a great time to discover the city at that time.

Furgurson writes a fascinating and informative story of how the Civil War impacted the city and shaped it to what is today. When President-elect Lincoln arrived for his inauguration in February 1861, there wasn’t much about DC to attract people for a visit. As the book progresses through the war years, Furgurson introduces the reader to the people, events, and places in the city as well as what happened officially. 

I enjoyed the descriptions of city life and neighborhoods at the time.  The landmarks mentioned are either still standing today or long gone. I recognized some of the people who came to DC for one reason or another while others I didn’t know. 

By April 1865, DC is no longer the sleepy town it once been. Black and white maps of the city are included. I enjoyed this book and learned more about DC along the way.

Around the city and in Maryland and Virginia, you can find Civil War heritage sites to discover and enjoy.  The Washington Post is featuring a special section online  of the 150th anniversary.

On April 15, Emancipation Day will be observed in the District of Columbia.  This city holiday commemorates the signing of the DC Emancipation Act signed by President Lincoln in 1862,  freeing all slaves in DC. 

This Emancipation was enacted  nine months before the more famous Emancipation Proclamation in 1863.

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Best of PubLib 03.28.10

Best of Publib Current Topics and Archives

Provocative video suitable for all audiences coming soon

This edition of  Best of Publib covers  March 15th through March 28th 2010. This PubLib review and analysis includes questions about naming library rooms, thought-provoking discussions about new media archives , library materials security,  and our new poll on R-rated movie access. Some of the topics we will be reviewing include: 

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Best of PubLib 03.14.10

Best of Publib Current Topics and Archives

Video coming soon

This edition of  Best of Publib covers the weeks of March 1st  through March 14th 2010. This edition includes questions about collection development, thought-provoking discussions about  known inaccuracies in ‘non-fiction’ works , circulation manager duties ,  humorous anecdotes regarding blondes ,  and the impact of closing public school libraries: 

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Best of PubLib 01.25.10

Best of Publib Current Topics and Archives

Video coming soon

This week  in  Best of Publib covers January 10th  through January 24th 2010. This week includes questions about collection development,  library hardware and software solutions, politics, policies,  and the ethics of advertising and branding. Some of the topics we will be reviewing include:weekly update

  • Topic   »    Shelving graphic novels - Phalbe Henriksen in Taylorsville, NC wants to know how many fit on a standard shelf – Graphic novel collections are growing! 
  • Topic   »    Classics List for Small Public Library - Bridget Krejci in Bloomer, WI wants recommendations for Classics – Kevin O’Kelly recommends the Everyman 100 and Carl Long provides an excellent, concise list.
  • Topic   »    Public Library System Organizational Structure: Request for information - Corinne Dickman in Sparks, NV is investigating alternative organizational structures – How is your library configured?
  • Topic   »    The future of reference? – This new product from Intel may show the future of reference – Are hololibrarians the next step in automation?
  • Topic   »    Recalled books - Justine Shaffner  in Aurora, CO forwarded this warning from CPSC of books that may cause a fire – Sometimes the books are on fire, sometimes the books cause them . . .
  • Topic   »    Not Gadgets -  M. McGrorty  in Los Angeles brings us this article by John Tierney – The Madness of Crowds and an Internet Delusion
  • Topic   »    library ethics vs local politics  - American Libraries reported on this troubling story out of Vermont  
  • Topic   »    Iphone app - Georgia Bouda  in  Bloomington, IL discusses the phone applications that digitize patron bar codes and offer them as alternatives to physical library cards - What are the security and service issues? How else can they be used?
  • Topic   »    Story time attendance dropping off? -  Janet Griffing  in Wadsworth, OH reports on diminished participation – Is it demographic changes or flu fears?
  • Topic   »    posting for causes on a library blog? – Kevin O’Kelly  in  Somerville, MA wants to know if it is proper – Should causes be promoted?
  • Topic   »    Flying candidates in for face-to-face interviews  - Matthew Pierce is looking at the cost - Is it still common to fly in recruits?
  • Topic   »    Review - M. McGrorty challenges librarians to post negative reviews of books – Is the trend to only see the good?
  • Topic   »    Branding in Libraries - Jane Genzel  at the  Muskego Public Library is investigating the appropriateness of branded donations – Does branding diminish services?
  • Topic   »    Drop In computer labs - Tracey Reed  in Clearwater, FL is implementing unstructured classes – Where is this effective?
  • Topic   »    Periodicals back issues - Laurenne Teachout   in Stephentown, NY has limited space for periodicals – What is ideal retention?
  • Topic   »    Overdrive Download Stations? - Nilya Carrato   in  Washington, DC  is configuring dedicated PCs for audio/ebook download – What software works the best?
  • Topic   »    Patron Counters - Cath Soffe   at  Ajax Library Services wants to know which products are the best
  • Topic   »    CIPA and e-rate - Andrea Taylor  in  Fullerton, CA is looking for a definitive answers on bona fide research and adult access - Is there conflict between local and federal guidelines?
  • Topic   »    libraries and local bookstores/resend - Robin K. Blum is writing on the subject – What collaborative relationships exist between libraries and bookstores?
  • Topic   »    Laptop Checkout - Mindy Kittay - in Colorado at the Anythink Libraries is looking for exemplary policies and procedures – How do your laptops circulate?
  • Topic   »    experience with outsourcing management of the library - Laurel Goodgion   in Wethersfield CT is investigating corporate profiteering on non-profits – When does outsourced management impinge on professional ethics?
  • Topic   »    Clipping files - Faith Jones – in New Westminster  BC, Canada is looking for best current practices for clipping files – are they still relevant with digitization? Does digitization of clipping files infringe on copyright?
  • Topic   »    Giveaways for silent auctions, etc. - John Richmond   in  Bartonville, IL wants to know what to offer other non-profits – Is there a great combination of that serves the library and external non-profits too?
  • Topic   »    Self Check Out - Andrew R. Stehr   in  Rochester, MN is looking for examples where circulation is 80% or greater automated – What are the benefits?
  • Topic   »    Expired Library Cards - Sue Reed   in  Jefferson City, MO wants to know how long you keep expired patron records before purging – Does your patron policy include privacy considerations?
  • Topic   »    Museum type holdings - John C. Sandstrom   in  El Paso, TX is looking for examples of libraries that still keep art work and realia – What are the collection guidelines?
  • Topic   »    Kevin Trudeau books - Becky Tatar   in  Aurora, IL investigates collection development policies – Do we offer what the public wants or what they should want?
  • Topic   »    Friday reference question - Dusty Gres   in  Vidalia, GA started a new discussion on humorous and troubling reference questions – It looks like we are generating a new list!
  • Topic   »    Book (etc.?) Awards - Diedre Conkling   in  Newport, OR  provided a link to ALA’s Book Award list in Cognotes.  The discussion truncated into contemplation of the effect of marketing and advertising on professional library literature. What do you think?

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Best of PubLib ALA Midwinter Exhibit Hall Review

Best of PubLib at the ALA Midwinter Meeting Exhibit Hall Review

This week,  Best of Publib covered the ALA Exhibit Hall at the Boston Convention Center.   The HD video below includes hundreds of vendor displays.  We hope it will help you imagine the experience if you were not able to attend, or help refresh and reinforce what you learned.  

 
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Boston Convention and Exhibition Center

The Boston Convention Center was an excellent venue for ALA. The train brought us to South Station - just a few minutes away from the hotels and convention amenities.   There are many local publishers and library suppliers within a short distance, so start-ups and unique product suppliers could present affordably.  And, Boston rocks!  The Freedom Trail, Duck Tours , along with world-class museums and libraries are within short distances of the convention center.  

The organizational effort by ALA and attention to detail by the library vendors was outstanding. It was easy to lose track of time on the exhibit hall floor amidst the panorama and noise.  It took on a casino / carnival atmosphere with prizes to win and vendors pitching their games. High above, you could use the Food Court sign as a directional beacon.  

Of all the hundreds of vendors represented, we chose to review five.  

The first is : I-Concepts which defines itself as Innovative Concepts for Nonprofit Organizations.  We could imagine many libraries outside of Boston benefiting from this service, along with fostering a general appreciation of local history archives.  If you are looking for a way to both encourage collection use and raise funds - i-concepts may be the answer. The Amelia Earhart print was fascinating.  

LibraryThing.com/forLibraries

The second  is : LibraryThing. Tim Spalding along with his gregarious black-shirted  horde truly represented the best of Open Source, Library 2.0 and viral marketing. They were eager to engage and highly entertaining.  

The third vendor is : LE@D-Lifelong Education @ Desktop from the University of North Texas   This group was absolutely charming and demonstrated infectious enthusiasm for their services. They dressed in some of the most colorful attire at the exhibit.  Le@D  provides highly affording library training. According to Director - Kevin Haney (in the middle with the green shirt) – costs are as low as $15 for a course! Enthusiastic library training -  Deep in the heart of Texas!  

New York Times

The fourth vendor is: The New York Times offering 50% off Home Delivery Service
 Marketing was conducted by On the Avenue Marketing Group with this excellent salesperson hawking half-price subscriptions. She may have been the hardest working individual in the exhibit hall. Yet, it was somehow troubling that this was the limit of representation of the New York Times publishing empire.  

III

The fifth vendor is: III – Innovative Interfaces Incorporated. III is one of the heavy hitters in the Library industry. Many libraries are dependent on their products and they have  a loyal base. I worked on two transitions to III – the first at Brown University from CLSI and the second at CLAN libraries from Horizon. I have used III for over twenty years and find it offers outstanding service. However, what I observed in the exhibit hall was troubling.  

The III booth was very well-appointed and designed with several interactive product displays. It supported a large group of associates to answer questions. Yet, few were actually engaged in discussions with anyone but their co-workers. A librarian approached two of the representatives to thank III for providing a pass to the exhibit hall. One of the representatives took a look at the librarian’s badge and said something to the effect of :

 “Well ______ must have been giving away those passes all along the east coast, we had another librarian from ____ stop by earlier “.

Then the rep rattled off a few names of people they considered important from that same institution and basically dismissed the librarian. There was no sales pitch. No offer to demo. Merely, a dismissal. 

Library Service, especially in the public library sector, ideally levels the playing field. Service is equal. In contrast, some vendor representatives have obviously been instructed to find out the station of the exhibit hall attendee, determine if they were of the buyer / influencer class and dismiss the others. Yet, the nature of libraries and librarians as technology consumers requires generating interest throughout an organization and getting everyone to buy in. If you have six vendor representatives at an exhibit and you don’t have a crowd around your people, then you should generate interest by engaging everyone.  All of the library vendors were start-ups at one point.   

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The exhibit hall may be the most effective way to get hands on experience with some of the newest and most exciting products in the library world.  The meager twenty-five dollar entrance fee – or having an inside vendor representative hook you up for free makes the experience well worth the visit.  

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This Week in Best of PubLib 12.14.2009

Best of Publib Current Topics and Archives

Video coming soon

This week  in  Best of Publib covers the week of December 7th through December 13th. This week includes questions about building collections in Western, Urban Fiction and Romance genres along with thought-provoking discussions about  library organization, library reorganization and control of libraries.  Some of the topics we will be reviewing include:weekly update

  • Topic   »    olympics? – Sharon Dalton in Parlin, NJ would like to know about Olympic themes for marketing library programs and materials.
  • Topic   »    urban fiction - Elizabeth Fraser in  Charleston WV is looking for good urban fiction resources.
  • Topic   »   Mail Chimp - Lisa Pappas in  Plainfield, IL wants to know who is using Constant Contact and who is using Mail Chimp - How do they compare?
  • Topic   »    RESUME - Karen Hertel in Idaho asks – what to include on librarian resumes  - Are academic librarian resumes the same as public librarian resumes?
  • Topic   »    Moving from a municipal department to an association library? - Laurel Goodgion in Wethersfield CT  seeks examples of municipal libraries that became independent libraries.
  • Topic   »    Reorganizing customer service | Library organization structure -  Janice Painter in  Princeton, NJ is investigating cross training and various innovative methods of reorganization.
  • Topic   »    software questions – Helen Rigdon in  Kansas City, Kansas wants to know if libraries qualify for academic price breaks on software - Is Open Office a viable alternative and what about TechSoup?
  • Topic   »    Flooring material – Connie Meyer in Fort Atkinson, WI is finishing a building project and seeks flooring suggestions.
  • Topic   »    Rental Ready Videos vs retail editions, Library edition audiobooks vs. retail editions – Jeanette Piquet in Richmond Heights, MO  is looking for guidance on vendor definitions – What are the legal and ethical ramifications?
  • Topic   »    Building upon an existing Romance Collection - Sherise Pagan is looking for web site sources to help develop a  Romance collection
  • Topic   »    Western Paperbacks – Ann Moore  in New York is looking for sources for up-to-date paperback westerns
  • Topic   »    Bags for Patrons, plastic or otherwise - Rebecca Hermen in Michigan is looking for economical, green library  bag guidance
  • Topic   »    Kirkus is shutting down – Mamie  Ney in Maine gives the sad news about the cessation of Kirkus
  • Topic   »    Friday funny - Elizabeth Thorson in Cheyenne, WY reports on extraordinary autographs located in The 100 Greatest Metal Guitarists
  • Topic   »    Controlling Libraries - Who should control public libraries? Should ALA?  Should ethics?  Should politicians?  Should professional librarians42 ? Take our poll!

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