Something new, we like (artist librarian, part 2)

Elizabeth Sabin Goodwin (1902-1980), Washington, D.C., artist and illustrator.

Libraries are changing. This change is driven by new technologies that are changing the materials and resources libraries offer, the methods of access by which we offer them, and all in relation to how these technologies are becoming more affordable and prevalent in mainstream society. In the academic world, adaptation in the libraries has been more experimental as they try to stay in the forefront of the latest resources offering their faculty and students the best possible advantages in the research world. These changes have included the digitization of parts of collections, such as thesis, archival materials, and special collections. Others have been creating digital depositories, checking out e-readers, and offering online reference sessions. Continue reading

Omeka Update

I have been remiss on updating my Omeka account lately. This could be my lack of excitement of working on my extremely out of date computer that keeps asking to update my browsers, even though I am as far as I can go with OS 10.4.11. This means I am behind on my Omeka version and need to do some upgrades. The unfortunate part is that the CVS import plugin has decided to not work, though it was working fine the last time I uploaded. So my next update may be a bit, while I sort out the config files for the plugin. In the mean time, here’s a few of the images from my next batch upload of 8×10 cyanotype and platinum/palladium prints taken in 1997. Continue reading

Reviewing Books

I have set myself a Reading Challenge for 2012 in GoodReads for 100 books. I know I can accomplish this since I read 105 books last year and I do read a lot of variety including young adult, graphic novels, fiction of all genres, some non-fiction, and listen to fair amount of audiobooks. Yes, I include audiobooks, though I have gone back many a time and read the book after listening to them in order to take a bit more time in enjoying the words. A few that I have done this with have been Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series and Shades of Grey and I already want to read Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam Trilogy. Both of these series use the page and text formatting and play on words in their stories, which are lost in the audio version.

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Voracious Teen Readers

I currently have a teen that is a voracious reader and comes to the desk asking for book recommendations. They are fairly open to reading new authors and genres, but have an affinity for vampires and paranormal stories. So the challenge for me is keeping her favorite type of genre in mind is recommending new authors outside the genre while keeping her up to date with the latest young adult vampire series. Keeping this in mind, I began to ask which “classic” literature she has read and found what I suspected, large holes needing to be filled.

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How being an artist has helped me become a better librarian

The life that leads a person to become a librarian is as varied as the sea. I have heard it referred to the 10 Step Job Recovery program of liberal art majors, due to the high percentage of librarians with these types of degrees. Though the truth is that the path to becoming a librarian is unique to each person joining the profession. For myself, I started by focusing on becoming a stage and lighting designer for theater, followed a love for photography into graduate school at an art college, finding a new found joy at working with images in a slide library, which the profession was slowly moving to requiring a library degree if I kept in this field and so I looked into getting my degree in library and information science. I wanted to try to combine the background knowledge I had acquired from my years in school with the love of photography and so I focused my classes on both archives and digital libraries.

While working in the profession in this recession where jobs are scarce,  I have been on many interviews for positions where one is constantly asked what makes you different from all the other perfectly qualified people in this profession. And I have slowly discovered that my art background is a pretty good fit for the library world. I will explore some of the ways I feel being an artist has made me a better librarian over a few posts. Continue reading

The Benefit of Library Displays

An aspect of my job that I find fun and fascinating is creating monthly library displays. In such a simple concept, you can introduce your patrons to new and old books in the collection that they may not have noticed, bring awareness to some national concern or issue, get a good grasp on what type of books your patrons are interested in, and get to know your libraries collection.

In order not to be without ideas for each month, I created a library display calendar, which contains national awareness campaigns in and out of the library world, local and regional awareness campaigns, holidays, events, and just seasonal ideas. After each listing I pasted the web pages linking the campaigns or further information on the event. I have found that you can get information for the list through the American Library Association, Library of Congress and other librarian blogs, such as the Programming Librarian .

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Know your Patrons

Working in a public environment, one thing that seems to always amaze me is the reality of the likes and dislikes of our users. When popular culture seems fixated on one thing, your patrons may be interested in something totally different.

I am helping create programs for the Summer Reading Program for the teens this summer. A suggestion that has been making the rounds is to create a program related to the Hunger Games series. With the movie to be released this March and the books on the New York Bestseller list for weeks now and with high hold lists for these books at the library,  this seems like a good choice.

So to verify this, I surveyed a group of our teens with possible theme ideas. The results were pretty astounding. The Hunger Games came last on the list of themes with Vampire Party at the top. I wasn’t too surprised about this since most of our holds are being placed by adults, not teens. Also, this book has been out since 2008, many teens probably read it in the early days and are now onto something new. And like I said, they will always surprise you at what they are interested in, so ask them what they are into, don’t ever assume.

Dissolving the Mystery of the Web

Sometimes I forget that many people only have a limited view of what is available on the internet. The idea that you need to have a complex webpage for small organizations that just need to provide information about their organization and be able to easily update their site with news and events. I recently worked with a patron who had a website set up for their organiztion by a volunteer and had lost access to the site.

The solution for the patron was to try taking HTML classes to learn how to make a webpage from scratch on their spare time. Little did they know that webpages can be made easier now using open source software like WordPress and the page can be made to look like a webpage. I had to explain that for small organizations, the needs for their online webpage is information, not flash. And the ability to be updated easily and the responsiblity divided by multiple people, rather than the responsibility of one.

After assessing their needs and the technology available at their organization, I offered another solution by creating a webpage using WordPress. I used examples from the showcase to show how other organizations of their size have utilized the software and sculpted it do what they needed. After walking her through some of the examples and using my own webpage to show how the page is administered they began to see the possibilities. I enjoyed being able to dissolve the mystery of the web and provide a simpler solution to their complex problem.

Where not to put security

I understand the need for security on merchandising, but could you please not put the tags on the pages of the books!

Tag in center of book

And the second tag at the back.

And a nice tag with the acknowledgments page


Photography, Sewing and Books