Monday, November 27, 2006

"Libraries thrive, despite Internet"

In case you were wondering...

The Appleton Post-Crescent, in a nice article about the latest Department of Public Instruction library statistics, also reports that "Technology is no substitute for tangible sources." They interviewed Appleton Public Library director (and WLA past-president), Terry Dawson.

Monday, November 06, 2006

WLA 2006: Conference Wrap-Up

As a follow-up to MATS' blog coverage of the 2006 WLA Conference, presenters' handouts and PowerPoints are starting to show up at the WLA conference web site.

If more presentation materials are found elsewhere, we'll link to them here; if you know of some, please send us the links by adding a comment to this post.

We had a great time "blogging the con", and hope to round up more MATSians to blog the WAPL Conference next spring!

Thanks to Nanette, Karla and Pete for all the bloggy goodness!

WLA 2006: More images

What a blast! I had such a great time blogging the conference. I still have a few more notes I want to post in the next week or so, most notably those from Debbie Schmidt's keynote address about providing great customer service in our libraries. We should be striving for loyal (and enthusiastic!) patrons, not just satisfied ones.

In the meantime, here are a few more images from the conference. I used Shutterfly, which is similar to Flickr. Thanks to all the folks who consented to having their picture taken. Especially check out the antler-wearing librarians at the Moosejaw. Who says librarians don't have fun?

http://share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=0BYuG7Zw4ZsXKg&notag=1

Nanette

Friday, November 03, 2006

WLA 2006: Small Libraries and The Digital Divide

Friday, 10:30-11:45am

This was a presentation by Jessamyn West, author of librarian.net, co-editor of Revolting Librarians Redux, an ALA councilor, a rural librarian, and library activist.

Links to info mentioned in her presentation are available at http://www.librarian.net/talks/wla2/

People don't use computers for all sorts of good reasons:
  • the information poor
  • the information don't care
According to the Vermont Telecommunications plan, reasons for not using the internet recently are...
  1. 40% don't have a computer
  2. 20% have no interest
  3. 15% don't like computers
  4. 2% have never heard of the internet
Often the library has a better chance of getting DSL or cable internet access than the home user because ISPs need to be convinced to run a line out to them.

The Pew Digital Divisions survey splits users into three loose categories:
  1. The "truly disconnected" (22%)
    One in five American adults have never used the Internet or email and don't live in an internet connected household.
  2. The highly wired elite (33%)
    broadband at home. high income, high education, generally younger
  3. everyone else (40%)
    modest connections (dial-up) or they live with someone who's "connected"
Large public libraries in small states in Jessamyn's experience:
  • Management treats technology as just another resource, like books or CDs doesn't know what a browser is
  • Staff is alternately critical and uncritically accepting
  • Patrons are alternately confused/needy and demanding; the more they use technology the more they hate our OPAC
  • Community could look to library as a leader, but do they? We have to be mechanics; it's just changed from from fixing toilets to fixing computers.
Some management problems are disguised as money problems.

Adding things like blogs, wikis, etc. realistically speaking, "how am I going to find time to do any of this?
  • Realism [setting expectations, what you can/can't have] figure out what you can and can't offer; knowing when's appropriate to say no
  • Decisiveness you don't need to form a committee or wait until the next board meeting to decide whether to use flickr to upload your photos; deputize people to do things; "maybe I should just build this and get back to you"
  • Problem solving for everyone!
Plan for...
  • Friction
  • Scaling: maybe this will work for 5 users, how about 500 users?
  • Saving the time of the user: does this make things easier for our patrons, or more difficult?
What can you do for your patrons?
What can you do to help your staff do an awesome job? Ask your staff, "What do you need from me to do an awesome job?"

Social software:
  • Help people connect; the future world will be more software, less hardware
  • Lure people into your library with new tech
  • Give your staff time to explore and play with technology so they can better help your library's patrons
In many rural situations, you are your community's local expert about the internet and technology.

WLA 2006: Sensible Technology Trends in Libraries

Friday, 9-10:15am

This was a presentation by Jessamyn West, author of librarian.net, co-editor of Revolting Librarians Redux, an ALA councilor, a rural librarian, and library activist.

You can see all the links from Jessamyn's talk at http://www.librarian.net/talks/wla

"Vermont is all rural all the time"

Library 2.0 means...
  • the library is no longer the box where the books are
  • it's a read/write environment
Ranganathan would have like the concept of the read/write web, especially regarding...
  • Save the time of the reader
  • A library is a growing organism.
The easiest freest thing you can do to increase your library presence:
  • Offer an easy way for the public to ask you a question
    - consider creating generic email addresses for trustees@ and genealogy@ that get directed to whoever is in charge
Instant messaging:
  • Consider offering IM so the public can reach you quickly & easily; be where your patrons are
  • IM is also great for in-house communication with your colleagues
  • "remember, we also debated telephone reference"
"Let computers do the heavy lifting."

Wikis aren't for everything, blogs aren't for everything.
Use the appropriate technology for what you want to offer to your patrons.

Blogs & wikis & RSS
  • There are very easy tools to blog (like Blogger.com) -- don't settle for using the old-school "myblog.blogspot.com" URL if you already have a domain name for your library; you can publish your Blogger blog to your web site host
Social software:
  • your patrons are already using it and might like help from you about using it
  • understand why people might like it
  • understand how your library might use it
  • it's leaping the "flavor of the month" stage
Open source software...
  • is free
  • is redistributable
  • has an open code base
  • is the great unknown
  • can have erratic documentation
  • be aware of the geek culture vs. librarian culture
Mashups and open APIs
Wifi/wireless
  • It's one easy way to attract people to your library
  • In some communities the library offers the only wifi in the area; your library may be the only wifi hotspot in town; this is especially in communties there's no broadband Internet access in the town
The good news and the bad news:
  • No amount of money will make a tech-phobic staff love technology.
  • No amount of dissuasion will keep a technophile away from technology.
  • Knowing who you're working with and [the full range of] what your options are is more valuable than any amount of money thrown at your technology problem.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

WLA 2006: Intro to Appreciative Inquiry

Introduction to Appreciative Inquiry presented by Louise Root Robbins

Louise gained my respect and grabbed my attention within the first few minutes by saying: AI is not a silver bullet, it is not for absolutely everything, and there are times when it won't work.

However, she went on to provide evidence and reasons why it IS extremely effective in most situations where it is applied.

The main 3 ideas:
  1. Something IS working--find out what it is and make it happen more. We see quickly what is wrong. AI is not problem-solving
  2. "we create our reality'" - social constructionism. We can choose to think differently about situations. Confronting reality but realizing you can think differently about things.
  3. Questions are intervention. Stopping to think about question already opens one up to new ideas. Brings new energy. Doing it in a group, makes even bigger difference.

AI is about bringing people together to talk about things that they care about and figure out ways to make the things they care about better.

Not simplistic, not just positive thinking, or "looking for good in everything"

Hard to talk about--better to give brief 20 minute background intro, then do it.

Common uses:
  • Lots of Coaches use it
  • Performance evals
  • Staff meetings
  • Branding an Organization
AI 4-D Cycle: This is the basic process.
  • Discovery - Appreciation
  • Dream - Envisioning
  • Design - Co-contsructing
  • Destiny - Sustaining
AI looks beyond what is working (don't look at problem) and how to extend it.

Many groups using AI to try improve world situation.
Discovery:
  • List positive instead of looking at the negative, which drains one
  • Usually large scale meetings
  • Have representation from all levels, areas of the org. Have a team (all repr'd).
  • Hearing stories - letting people have a chance to speak - hearing them out.

Dream:
What is it that would make us feel committed to this cause?

Design:
I missed this part...sorry!

Destiny:
How practically do we make this happen.

Exercise:
  • Pick a peak experience - anything
  • Think in terms of what was life-giving, what made it so neat
  • Get into details of it
  • Think of how to recreate it
She tried introducing AI into dead staff meetings. Didn't go over well. Took 5 years from the first mention to implementation. Turned out, people had never had positive experience at retreats, so they didn't want to try again.

We are social -- we like to tell stories, hear stories, talk about our selves. From this we can pull out the common factors. There are things we all share.

Based on experiences.

When not to use it:
  • When leadership not participating
  • When there is too much resistance?
  • When can't have all levels involved
  • If there is no genuine committment to change.
  • If one is unlikely to implement anything, better not to attempt.
Essence = we do share commonality, we need to open dialog. AI is a structured way to go deepr and deeper into dialog.

AI results in "it was a priority for all of us" so it is sort of self-policing from getting off track.

This was the first of three presentations on AI.

WLA 2006: MARC My Words: Elements of Speaking for Librarians

Manuel Urrizola clearly and concisely explained and demonstrated the basics of creating, preparing and presenting a speech.

Select and define topic:
  1. Where or for what occasion are you speaking
  2. To whom are you speaking?
  3. Why? What is my approach?
Five approaches/Elements
  • Inform - Bibliographic Instruction
  • Persuade - Vendors
  • Entertain - Storytimes
  • Inspire - ex Gettysburg Address
  • Advocate/Call to Action - Fundraisers
How to support topic?
  • Facts, quotes
  • History or future of topic
  • Stories
  • Balance:
    ex. Pros & Cons, Before & After, Question & Answers, Problem & Solution
Three is the magic number - 3 facts, 3 bullet points, 3 whatevers

Introduction:
  • Get their attention
  • State your topic
  • Give audience know your approach
Body of Speech:
  • Supporting elements
  • Develop topic and support topic
Conclusion:
  • Summarize
  • Let them know where to go
  • Mirror your beginning (ex start & end with a quote)
  • Make it clear
Overcoming Nervousness

Why do we get nervous?
  • We don't want to fail
  • We want to be liked
  • We care
Your brain chemistry is kicking in.

How to control nervousness?
  • Be Prepared!
  • Try relaxation techniques (ex deep breathing)
  • Do something physical
  • Experience
Rehearse
  • Memorize beginning and ending
  • Write it out
  • Practice it
  • Time your speech
Don't rely on your props--certainly not PowerPoint. What if computer failure?

It IS a performance. Don't kid yourself. They want more than just content.

Make the audience believe you:
  • Speak with authority
  • Don't apologize
  • Be direct
  • Use logic
Motivate your audience (appeal to self interest):
  • Inspirational language
  • Show some enthusiasm
  • Financial rewards
Move your audience (emotional engagement):
  • Personal experience
  • Buzz words
  • Make them laugh
  • Trauma or Suspense
Show what you mean
  • Body Language
  • Move around room
  • Gestures - bigger the room or audience, the bigger the gesture
  • Eye Contact
  • Facial expressions
Show what you mean - using Sound
  • Inflection
  • Volume
  • Imitation
  • Rate
  • Variety
  • Vary pitch & tone
  • Metaphores, alliterations
Show what you mean - Visual
  • Clothing
  • Chart
  • PowerPoint - should only illustrate speech, add to
  • Props
  • Handouts
Silence is golden
  • Remember to breathe
  • Wait for answers to questions
  • When you don't rember your next line
  • Don't use filler words. No ummmm. When catch filler word, repeat sentence w/o it.
End:
  • Make sure audience knows -- ex turn it over to host
  • Make ending strong. Thank you is not a strong ending
  • End. Stop.
Post-Mortem:
  • Evaluations, suggestions from audience
  • Experience
  • Exercises

WLA 2006: Running an Effective Meeting

Thursday, 2-3:15pm

This was a presentation by Kathy Pletcher, Association Provost for Information Services at UW-Green Bay.

Effective meetings have:
  • A good chairperson
  • The right people involved -- people with technical knowledge, with ideas, willing to do the work
  • A clear purpose or charge --
Effective meetings require:
  • Good planning
  • Good leadership
  • Appropriate follow-up
Planning the meeting (this is where you want to put a lot of effort):
  1. What is the purpose of the meeting?
  2. Which format will be most effective?
  3. What needs to be accomplished?
  4. Who should be there and why?
1. What is the purpose?
  • Inform
  • Gather information
  • Generate ideas
  • Enhance communication
  • Enhance teamwork
  • Improve morale
  • Solve a problem
  • Make a decision
  • Persuade
2. Which format?:
  • In person -- opportunity to draw out introverted attendees; you can read body language
  • Telephone, teleconference -- requires more work; the agenda has to be highly structured because you don't have visual cues from attendees; you have to call on people
  • Two-way video
  • Computer conferences
3. What needs to get done?
  • Set reasonable goals -- make a list
  • Determine time needed to achieve goals -- give a start and end time
  • Structure the agenda
    - action, discussion, information items
    - prioritize -- first things first
    - relevancy check
    - is the meeting necessary?
4. Who should be there and why?
  • Who are the stakeholders and why?
  • Who has pertinent information?
  • Who will be affected by the outcome?
  • Who might contribute good thinking?
  • Who might help move things along?
  • Who should be inside the tent? People who regularly oppose a topic on the agenda.
  • Only bring people there who need to be there; don't waste the time of others.
  • Keep in mind the size of the group. Groups larger than 15 can be hard to manage. Consider structuring subgroups or subcommittees.
Scheduling the meeting:
  • Select a time that will achieve the highest attendance by key players.
  • Select a place that will be accessible and conducive to good discussion.
"Calling" the meeting:
  • Memo or email message that includes
    - purpose of the meeting
    - date, time & location
    - who will be there
    - let people know the preparation required
  • Meeting agenda
    - date, start time, end time, location
    - action/discussion/information items
  • Documents pertinent to meeting
  • Maps, parking info if needed
Just prior to a meeting:
  • Review the agenda
  • Gather your thoughts
  • Gather hand-outs
  • Be there ahead of attendees
  • Check out the meeting room
  • Greet people
Running the meeting:
  • Begin on time
  • Appoint a recorder
  • Stick to the agenda
  • Foster discussion
  • Use rules like parliamentary procedures -- consider appointing a parlimentarian
  • Stay on course
  • Summarize & show progress
  • Draw conclusions
  • Assign tasks
  • Set deadlines
Parliamentary basics:
  1. Only one subject may claim the attention of the assembly at one time.
  2. Each proposition presented is entitled to full and free debate.
  3. Every member has rights equal to every other member.
  4. The will of the majority must be carried out and the rights of the minority must be preserved.
  5. The personality and desires of each member should be merged into the larger unit of organization.
Motions:
  • Allow enough discussion before a motion is made.
  • A motion is made in order for the group to take action.
  • A motion needs a second in order to be considered by the group.
  • Discussion/debate must be germane to the motion.
  • Presiding officer takes the vote by voice, show of hands or balloting
  • The chair should remain neutral during the discussion, and will serve as the tie-breaker
Before you adjourn:
  • Do a meeting wrap-up and summarize what we accomplished during the meeting
  • Review assignments and deadlines
  • Schedule the next meeting
  • Thank participants
Post-meeting follow-up:
  • Send out minutes or a summary
  • List the tasks that need to be followed up; check on progress of assignments
  • Carry out decisions, tasks, etc.
  • Report back on progress

WLA 2006: LibraryThing

Thursday 11am-12:15pm

LibraryThing is...
  • a web site for book lovers
  • a social network built around books -- you can connect to other people through the books you share
  • "kind of the Wikipedia of cataloging"
There are currently over 97,000 registered users.
Over 1000 members are librarians; see Librarians Who LibraryThing.

If LibraryThing were a library, it would be the 20th largest library in the United States.

Signing up is easy, and you don't have to give a lot of personal information to start your account.
LibraryThing is a fan of simplicity and privacy.
Your reading habits are online, but they're not connected to any personal data about you.
You can edit your profile with as little or as much as you like.
Many user profiles offer photos of cats, stacks of books, etc. not photos of oneself.

LibraryThing terms of use: "Be nice, please."

Add books to your library from...
  • Amazon.com
  • Library of Congress
  • 60 other sources around the world
  • copying & pasting from other sources or manually type the book info
You can customize each of the 5 different views of your library.

The link to "People who own this book also own..." helps you find other books you might like.

RSS feeds are created for books you've recently added, and for reviews by others who also own your book titles.

Small libraries are using LibraryThing to catalog their collections.
Libraries are using the LibraryThing widget on their web pages to recomend books and list new titles.

John Klima at the Franklin Township Public Library uses it to make the Young Adult Librarian's Library Thing catalog.

"It's the long tail; it drives people deeper into the stacks."

WLA 2006: MATS Webbie winners announced

Congratulations to the winners of the Media & Technology Section's 2006 Webbies Awards. MATS gives out these awards every year to recognize the most outstanding library websites in Wisconsin. This year's winners include two public libraries, and two academic libraries - one of which has a special website targetted to children. The awards were announced prior to the keynote address Wednesday evening.

Below is Francine Goodwin from Hatch Public Library, which won the coveted Coolest and Best of the Best Webbie. Check out their links for some inspiration!




Coolest Design & Best of the Best
Hatch Public Library

Best Reference Site
Oshkosh Public Library

Best Site for Kids
Wisconsin's Water Library for Kids

Most Accessible Site
University of Wisconsin-Parkside

WLA 2006: Charmer in the Dells



Wisconsin children's book author Kevin Henkes was charming and generous in his presentation at Wednesday's Youth Services Section luncheon. Not that the creator of such acclaimed books as Kitten's First Full Moon and Chrysanthemum hadn't already stolen our hearts with his whimsical and lovingly drawn characters and well-crafted books.

The Racine native walked his audience through a brief history of some of his more popular books, explaining the thought process that went into the choices he made in many of his illustrations. He revealed to us that, of all the many characters he has drawn over the years, his favorite is Lilly, the headstrong little mouse who has starred in several books since she made her first appearance in the Chester's Way in 1988.

Lilly may be impulsive, somewhat self-centered, and a little too controlling. "Restraint is not her strong point," Henkes said. But she is also a girl who knows what she wants. "She has vision ... and she gets things done."

Out of curiosity, Henkes said he recently counted the number of images of Lilly he has drawn since that first book in 1988. Not counting rough drafts and rejected drawings, he has drawn her 263 times.

He said the relationship between Lilly and her much more passive younger brother Julius was modeled after two characters in an earlier book, Margaret & Taylor published in 1983. Like Lilly, Margaret liked to be in control. Yet, like Julius, Taylor sometimes got the last word.

Included in Henkes' slide presentation of book illustrations were photographs from his childhood. For six years he was the youngest (he was the fourth of five children), so he knows what it is like to be bullied by older siblings, he said. But he also understands having to cope with a new baby in the family, as did Lilly in Julius, the Baby of the World.

A great deal of thought is put into each illustration and each sentence. The outfits and poses worn by Lilly, her teacher Mr. Slinger, and others are chosen very carefully to match the mood at each point in the story. Henkes uses patterns, rhyme, and repetition to help push the story forward. Even if no one consciously notices such little touches, he said, they still have an impact, at least on the subconscious level.

Among Henkes' many honors and awards are the Caldecott Award and the Charlotte Zolotow Award, both in 2005 for Kitten's First Full Moon, a 2004 Newbery Honor book citation for Olive's Ocean, and a Caldecott Honor for Owen in 1994. Most recently he was given the Sterling North Literary Award.

He described his career as immensely rewarding, particularly when children come to him with their own drawings after reading or experiencing one of his books. Such personal, heartfelt responses affirm for him that books truly do matter, and that his work is important.

"I know that what I do is larger than me."

WLA 2006: Applying Appreciative Inquiry & Celebrate What's Right with the World

Applying AI
Meg Allen, Baraboo PL
Vicki Ruthe Cogswell, Beloit PL
Jeanne Foley, UW-Oshkosh Polk Library
Nathan Rybarczyk, Baraboo PL

Practical example of how it works:
Take improving meetings/sessions....
List things you like in a meeting.
List things you don't like

Clarify, shuffle, add your own issues. Put them together and present them to group, and say " Here's what we came up with. What do we all agree are most important. How shall we accomplish this?"

When some of the negatives arise, one can point out "Remember, this was one of the things we agreed we wanted change."

AI summarized & restated:
  • AI pared down to essence is engagement and dialog
  • Language we use creates our reality
  • Questions lead to intervention lead to change
AI can be applied on the small scale--grassroots
Think of what works and how to do more of it. Ask open questions and listen to answers.

How to apply grassroots AI at Circ desk?
We all have policies & procedures; however, there are exceptions....
Have tried to create an environment so that rules are bent in a consistent way. So that both patron and staff know what to expect.

Staff have ability/authority to use their own judgment. When staff not comfortable with issue, they bring patron to supervisor. This way, staff don't feel overruled & Patron usually satisfied immediately.

ex: Can't use Internet access with more than $10 fines.
Instead of just saying "no", we say "here are other places where you can get access."

ex: Word processing machines all in use, patron waiting
Offer alternative of using Google Documents

"Anyone can do an AI. Who's going to stop you from asking powerful, positive questions." David Cooperrider

Find out what patron really needs/wants -- keep asking questions/talking until you can find solution.

AI at UWO

Upped the level of communication
more email, staff logbook, rap tune to remind student staff what to do.
"One time only" rule. Both for patrons and staff.

ex: staff person needing a radically different schedule
  • Sat down, thought: "how much more work is it to hire new person? Can I make this work?"
  • Brought it to rest of staff: "how can we make this work? Are people OK with this?"
  • Try it: "OK, we'll try for 2 months. If anyone has a problem with it, we'll talk again."
Summary: you can take AI principles and apply them anywhere, at any level.

Vicki Ruthe Cogswell-Conclusion
If you can imagine it being different, you can find ways to get there.

"Principal Effect" - the way the Principal treats staff gets reflected in student behavior.

Imagining exercise:
  • Imagine a boy on beach with dog-remember details, clothes, smells
  • Most, but not all, imagined a young kid
  • Showed reality: cartoon of Ziggy and dog
Everyone remembers differently, and imagines differently.

Vicki Ruthe Cogswell--Celebrate What's Right With the World

AI can been seen as Yet Another Change Strategy Gimmick. However, this one worked for us.

Make your staff feel welcome. Make them buy in. Make things pretty, taste good, etc ways to make staff feel good, feel appreciated.

She has some very strong personalities in Circ dept.
Repeat meeting exercise: (different suggestions this time!)
Create list, add own ideas, presented to group. Use document to say "Remember, we agreed we would change that behavior."

I asked "what if they don't agree with everything on list? How can you say 'We agreed' when we didn't?"

Answer: as a supervisor, she had to dictate that "we agreed" (even if not everyone did), to the things on the list.

We did some more exercises, then she showed a part of the film "Extraordinary Visions!" of Dewitt Jones, a National Geographic photographer.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

WLA 2006: Scenes from the WLA Foundation Fundraiser

Wednesday, 7-9pm

Here are photos taken at the WLA Foundation Fundraiser, which was held at the Moose Jaw Brew Pub in Wisconsin Dells (all photos were taken by Renee Miller of Winnefox Library System).

The special music guest was Mississippi Blue, which is comprised of the duo of Mike Obmascher and Winding Rivers Library System Director David Polodna:

Mississippi Blue

Mississippi Blue

Notable wildlife observed:

wolf
bison

raccoon with crackerjacks
a herd of moose

WLA 2006: Notable Books

Notable Books
Presented by: Helen Androski, Beverly Wees, James Gollata, Gary Warren Niebuhr

Gary:
The Assasin's Gate - Packer, George
War story - set in "occupied" Iraq. Author shows slant in first sentence.
What do human rights have to do with Nat Security?
What should US do with threats no one addresses?
Limits of sovereignty
Democracy by force?
Whose responsibility is defeated country aftwards?

Packer makes it clear w/in Bush administration there was no clear agreement what to do after 9/11. But there was a small group who had idea that we had right to do anything.

The book shows how sad it is who we rely on for advice--

Not a novelist approach, more journalistic. Underlying conclusion: "why did the US invade Iraq? Still not sure"

Elia Kazan - Schickel, Richard
Why Kazan important? because of his role in the red scare. Lot of group theatres full of stalinists. Kazan suffered for testifying against Stalinists in the arts. One man able to have both hollywood and broadway success.

Kazan an angry person which affected everything he did. Missing some personal insights explaining why Kazan is like he is. Schickel refers often to a different Kazan bio.

Hummingbird's Daughter - Urrea, Luis Alberto
South & centeral american writer & setting. Mexican unification process.
Hard to understand & believe all the mystical spiritual stuff.

Fictionalization of Terecita's life.

When Terecita's sainthood, and healing gifts gain her sway over people, government decides she must be elimiated.
Easy to lose oneself in the richness of the narrative.

Beverly:
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close - Foer, Jonathan Safran
post-9/11 fiction
narrated by 9-yr old, Oscar.
Lost his father in 9/11
Dresses in white, sprinkles french phrases, and other oddities.
Oscar finds a envelope with a key and he tries to discover where it goes.
Multimedia book--pictures, blank pages for mute grandpa, flip-pages.


Orientalist - Reiss, Tom
Spellbind, but challenging book
Bio of a Jew who transforms self into Muslim prince, and best-seller in Nazi Germany.
When moving from Russia, went through Istanbul and fell in love with Islam and desert life. Converted at 17.
Seemed really astonished that he couldn't get published anymore in Germany. European Oscar Wilde.
Lots of political movements going on in the book.
Odd character.
Sometimes author goes off track into political & historical detail.

Midnight at the Dragon Cafe - Bates, Judy Fong
Chinese immagrant girl who comes to Canada in 1874. Bright girl, well like, good at school. Home life. Lots of secrets, and no one to talk to.
Narrator's voice is young, innocent despite the darker secrets and issues.

Helen:
Please Don't Come Back From the Moon - Bakopoulos, Dean
Depressed industrial neighborhood in detroit. Fathers start going out to look for work and not coming back.
Plot and pace meander too much. 1st novel problems. hints of magical realism. hints that fathers really did go to the moon.

Never Let Me Go - Ishiguro, Kazuo
About young girl, Cass at boarding school and her friends.
No parents mentioned. The girls search for where they come from, struggle to find meaning of life before it is over.
Not quite a sci-fi thriller. All set in past -- anachronistically. Brings into focus the poignancy of why should we make friendships etc, when going to end in loss and death.

Gilead - Marilyn Robinson
Whoppping good read even though nothing much happens.
Set in Iowa
Main character (Rev Ames) dying, writes long letter to son whom he won't see grow up.
Story of family history.
Ames has a humble humorous narrative voice. Touches on many great American themes. Exquisite writing.


James:
The Glass Castle -- Walls, Jennette
Autobiographical. Author is gossip columnist for msn.com
Opening sentence show juxtaposition of Jennette driving by her mother who is homeless and picking through garbage. Family dirt poor, father never hold job, very eccentric. Ignore kids, let them grow upon their own.
Well-written. Even humorous, no self-pity.

Saturday - Ian McEwan
Story of a day in the life of Henry Peron(sp?), British neuro-surgeon.
Whole story covers very short time period, but includes plane crashes, car accident, hoodlum attacks, and the power of poetry.

Streets in Their Own Ink - Dybek, Stuart
Poetry collection. Better short story writer than poet. Very dark--both poetry and short stories.

WLA 2006: Cataloging Changes on the Horizon: FRBR & RDA

Wednesday 9am-10:15

Steven Miller gave a general overview of FRBR, RDA, and the New Statement on International Cataloging Principles.

FRBR= Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Data
RDA= Resource Description and Access

New statement on Internation cataloging principles
Revision of Paris Principles

There are various metadata standards
  • structure standards...schemes or element sets (ex dublin core, marc)
  • content standards - rules for element content
  • value standards...controlled vocab for values of elements
  • encoding standards...machine read, communication, and exchange (xml, MARC)
  • presentation standards...opac, css
FRBR is NOT new catalogging rules or a set of instructions for restructuring OPAC

FRBR designed to address the problem of multiple versions-- AKA "content vs carrier"

For example, text is not only printed page, it also includes: html, pdf, microfilm, microfiche, image

How to arrange logically? This is FRBR's goal.


Users need to find resources--need enough info in record so they can differentiate editions, format, etc.
User Tasks: Find, Identify, Select, Obtain ...... Navigate (not strictly FRBR, but in ISoCP)

Group1 - products of content--
works, expressions, manifestation, item
Group2- those responsible--person, corporate author
Group3- Subjects of works--Groups 1&2, plus concept

In 80% of resources, cataloged works, expressions & manifestations are identical...don't need to distinguish.

Example of FRBR applied to Shakespeare's Hamlet
Work - Hamlet
Expression - 2006 English Edition
Manifestation - E-book
Item - specific copy on my listening device

FRBR mirrors what happens in real life--groups things together in larger ways

Currently we catalog mostly at manifestation level -- expression-level will probably be cataloged at authority level

Expression includes: title, edition statement, notes, access point (ex different orchestras performances)
Manifestation includes: isbn, title & statement of responsibility, publication info, Physical description, some notes, Access points (ex CD or cassette).

Most FRBR will be at software level. We are fairly dependent on our ILS vendors to support FRBR.

A few experimentations:
  • RedLightGreen -- OCLC's FRBR-ish experiment.
  • NSCU -- using Endeca to come close, but still a workaround.
RDA=Resource Description and Access
  • Successor to AACR2
  • Drafts available for input from cat and metadata communities--looking for input!
  • Intended pub date 2008
Why not AACR3?
  • based on cat CARDs
  • print centered
  • not suited to digital resources
  • Inconsistent concepts and terms for multiple versions
  • mixes data elements and content rules with data presentation (ISBD)
Data that is readily adaptable to new and existing database structure
Want to make compatible with existing records in OPAC

RDA
  • intended for use in digital world
  • focuses on principles, use cataloger judgement
  • incorpates FRBR
  • integrate all types of content
  • separate data from display
  • parallels Int'nl Statement on Cataloging Principles
  • built on foundations of AACR2
  • intended for libraries, BUT also intended for wider use
challenges include:
  • separation of bibliographic elements from ISBD areas
  • changes in terminology
  • crosses all material types in AACR2 part 1
RDA will be web-based resource (but also loose-leaf pub)

Important to keep RDA and MARC separate
RDA=content standard
MARC=encoding standard

ISBD punctuation isn't required anymore in RDA--optional.

RDA impact on existing records? Minimal.

There is RDA outreach group which is notifying vendors of RDA developments, but still vendor dependent.

Summary: all is still abstract, but on the horizon...

Q: Will it make it easier to catalog? Will it save time for catalogers?
A: At is supposed to. Smaller subset of mandatory elements, but room for more.

Slides will be on WLA website.

WLA 2006: Poof! You're Organized

Wednesday, 2-4pm

The program was presented by organizing coach Nancy Kruschke McKinney, and was a companion to her Conquer the Clock presentation given earlier in the day.

The benefits of organizing:
  • You can find information quickly
  • Others can find items when you're away
  • Freedom from chaos. "Everything around us talks to us" so get rid of the things you don't like.
  • Know where to put things when they come in. If you don't know where to put something it will end up in a pile. Know where an item's "home" is.
  • Save time and money
  • Reduces stress. One tip: put your car keys in the same place every day.
Where to start:
  • Start small, otherwise it can feel overwhelming. Give it 15 minutes, and you can get rid of some of the "paper weight"
  • Once you get started, make it part of your routine
Keys to organizing:
  • Gather things together
  • Sort by grouping like-items together and toss
  • Create "homes" for everything; these can be containers or a minimum of 3 stack shelves (this utilizes both horizontal and vertical space on your desk)
  • 1. top basket is a temporary holding place or inbox
  • 2. middle basket is for action items
  • 3. bottom basket is for reading materials
  • Write it down; this helps us remember it
  • Regular maintenance
Make your desktop usable:
  • Create an effective desktop. A clean workspace helps us to stay focused and concentrate.
  • UGH system:
  • U - Usable - the things you use on a daily basis need to be close at hand
  • G - Get rid of the garbage - photos on your desk reduces the amount of desk space you have; move the photos to a shelf (utilize vertical space) to reclaim desk space
  • H - Handy - have a small supply of office supplies nearby
  • Papers that clutter your desk:
  • Papers you know you'll need soon
  • Papers waiting for info/signature
  • Papers needing decisions
  • Projects
  • Papers to file
Filing basics: keep your filing system...
  • Simple -- don't make it complicated; be careful of over-colorcoding labels; make it easy to delegate filing to others
  • Easy -- if it's too hard we aren't going to use it
  • Manageable
When you're setting up a filing system ask these questions:
  1. What areas of the filing system cause the greatest frustrations for you and your co-workers?
  2. What areas of the filing system result in the greatest loss of time?
  3. What is the primary criteria by which I would look for this document?
  4. Who else uses these files?
  5. Do I need this information in mulitple files?
Select the right filing system that's right for you:
  • Alphabetical
  • Numerical
  • Subject
  • Geographical location
To-do lists:
  • It can be overwhelming to have everything in one list
  • Big projects can be chunked into smaller bits that are easier to check off your to-do list
Types of files:
1. Action files:
  • Action pending folders
  • Project folders
  • Reading basket
  • Tickler system - one folder for each month of the year
2. Resource files:
  • Maintain a file index
  • Divide system into categories
  • Avoid overstuffing files
  • Eliminate documents that can be found someplace else
  • Beware of over-colorcoding
Email

Managing email:
  • Organize email into folders for easy retrieval. Don't let messages sit uncategorized in the inbox.
  • Create folders and sub-folders.
  • Is it kept somewhere else? If so, delete it.
  • Resist the temptation to read each new email message as it arrives. Instead, read and reply to messages in batches several tiimes during a day. Turn off automatic notification of new messages; avoid these interruptions.

WLA 2006: Creating Dynamic Library Atmospheres

What we can learn from museums, theater, retail, and the Container Store

Ted Swigon, Consultant
Sally Decker Smith, Indian Trails Public Library District, Wheeling IL

"When a solution to a problem is obvious, the problem is solved."

"What's Up Upstairs?" sign

Keep in mind context and perspective. Work with your building. Put things where they make sense.

Purple neon sign is highlighted by painting the wall behind it purple.

Color is one of your greatest allies and cheapest friends.

Letterforms are meant to be read. The best way to camouflage text is by placing it on a multicolored backgrounds.

KISS: Keep it simple stupid.

Shelving that reflects the space where the shelves sit.

Think like a museum.

If the furniture doesn't last 50 years, that gives you a chance to rethink and replace.

There are very good solutions that are out of the ordinary and are out there for the noticing and taking.

Why We Buy: The Science Of Shopping by Paco Underhill

Using lighting gels (in sheets and tubes) to highlight locations.


Where to start?
Look around! What's working? What's not?
Bring in someone who hasn't been to your library and ask them to walk through it with you. How do they see things? Can they find stuff?

Identifying the problem is half the solution.


Have an idea? Stop. Think.

What's your goal?
What catches your eye in stores, on stage? Can you adapt it to your situation?
Look around to see what will be competing with your new stuff
Who is your intended audience?
Is your display 2-d or can it be 3-d?
Somewhere in your building has more artristic talent than you realize -- find it and use it.

Keep it simple.
Use a modest number of colors. The focus should be on the materials.
Choose no more than 3 fonts for all signs created in-house. 2-3 fonts for headlines; one font for text. Make sure everyone who makes signs knows.
Having similar things match creates a more professional atmosphere. How many kinds of wastebaskets do you have in public areas?

This is lots of fun and very thought-provoking, but I have to leave. Sorry.

WLA 2006: DLTCL Technology Update

Tuesday, 11am
Bob Bocher and Sally Drew

BadgerNet: started in 1994; 2nd generation implemented 2005-06.
  • New BadgerNet Converged Network (BCN) converges video and data.
  • Approx. 2800 circuits throughout the state; 470 k-12 and 408 public libraries.
  • Some BCN issues -- slow access -- some due to LAN/WAN issues; some circuits are undersized; who will pay (TEACH has maxed out current funding)?
  • Contact your library system ASAP if you're having BCN problems.
Shared ILS Cost Study (http://dpi.wi.gov/pld/sharedils.html)
Study to answer these questions:
  • What are the annual costs of shared systems?
  • Who pays?
  • What are different funding models?
  • What are benefits/issues of shared ILS?
Some findings:
  • 82% of libraries are in shared systems
  • 87% are satisfied with their shared ILS
  • Central management provides economy of scale and reduces local responsibilities
  • Members have access to a higher quality ILS, larger collections, enhanced resource sharing
  • It's an important service that patrons support
Issues:
  • Need more tech support
  • Loss of autonomy -- no turning back
  • Challenges in developing common policies
  • Net lenders not always compensated
  • Increased demand for services
Suggestions:
  • Work harder to standardize policies
  • Keep number of member libraries manageable
  • Address reciprocal borrowing issues
  • Increase state funding
  • Stay committed to quality control
  • Better delivery of software upgrades
  • Vendors need to address needs of shared systems
  • Need for better reports
  • More tech support
  • Add more best-sellers, e-resources
  • Enable readers to track what they've read, pay fines online
Funding issues
Statewide $6,167,698 spent annually on shared ILS
Local funding models vary

In next 4-8 years, should the state set a priority to implement a single, statewide system?
45% agree or strongly agree
29% disagree or strongly disagree


Gates Grants:
Division has received $86,000 to help sustain public access comuting in WI public libraries.
Will hold 11 workshops around the state, coordinated with systems (in first quarter 2007).
Workshops will focus on
  • technology support
  • budgeting for tech
  • fostering community support
ALA has $600,000 grant to address broadband issues in public libraries.


E-Rate update:
  • Libraries continue to struggle with application process
  • TEACH applies for libraries' data circuits
  • Many libraries don't apply for POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service)
  • Some library systems provide support
  • CIPA caused a major drop in ISP discounts

FCC reviewing program ("cautiously optimistic"); ALA and DCTCL recommend:
  • Overall program simplification
  • Discounts go directly to school and libraries
  • Use state/local bidding and procurement processes

ALA has Gates grant to help increase library participation.


Federal Internet Issues:
Net neutrality:
FCC deregulated telecom ISPs raising neutrality issues -- underlying telecom structure doesn't have to comply with non-discrimination regulations --> internet isn't a level playing field
Libraries provide content without deep pockets to pay to make our content accessible.
US is about 16th in broadband subscribers.


Court finds FCC can extend CALEA to the Internet (CALEA makes it easier for wiretaps, etc.)
ALA: "Move compliance out of the library" -- moves it upstream to ISP
Federal DOJ moving aggressively to track internet use.

Telecom reform bill passed House, now in Senate.

Badgerlink Redesign: http://www.badgerlink.net/
Virtual Reference:
  • DLTCL paying for 24/7 chat and email reference coverage for state
  • 30 participating libraries/systems
  • User group meeting at WLA Thursday 9am
  • AskAway: http://www.askaway.info/
  • PR website: http://www.askaway.info/librarykit/
  • AskAway Best Practices sessions via Wisline Web 3rd Thursday of every month at 10:30am.
  • Info and reg links: http://www.wils.wisc.edu/events/#askaway
  • July 1-Oct. 15, there were 4700 "sessions" with either live chat or web forms, including 1861 Wisconsin chats -- almost half of that in the last month and a half.

WISCAT:
2005-06 -- planning and purchasing process for the next generation of WISCAT
WLA program Thursday, 2pm, in the Mangrove room
Planning activities: survey of system clearinghouse practices, RFI on costs, ILL workgroup (revised guidelines), open vendor demos in 2005

Vendors responding to RFP:
Auto-Graphics
OCLC
SirsiDynix
WebFeat

Auto-Graphics selected for catalog and resource sharing components

What will change?
Virtual catalog searching available with union catalog searching
Managing and sorting results sets will be easier
Where you manage ILL requests -- "considerably easier to use"

What will be better?
Filter ILL requests by media type and availability (where Z39.50 available)
Book club requests
Patron alert when something is owned locally

For more info, attend the Thursday session, "Statewide Resource Sharing and Information Access"

WLA 2006: Conquer the Clock

Wednesday, 11am-12:15pm

The program was presented by organizing coach Nancy Kruschke McKinney.

Organizing is a learned skill, you don't need to be a born organizer. :-)

Her goal for each of us in the presentation is that we take one idea back, and implement it.

Her #1 idea, the one people tell her is the best idea she gave them:
Use post-it notes as file folder labels if you don't know what to label it; don't stress out about making a fancy or permanent label

Ways to tackle time:
  • what we control is what we choose to do with time
Think of how you're investing your time.

Resources she recommends:
Time wasters:
  • Too much paper -- trim the F.A.T. (file, act, toss) and stop bringing in paper
  • Time spent waiting
  • Interruptions -- remove the guest chair from your office
  • Long meetings
  • Lack of focus
  • Phone calls and email messages
  • Junk mail
  • Technology
Time savers:
  • Make your paper inbox a limited space so it can't grow too large.
  • Create rules in your email mailbox so items go into folders
  • Have a free email account (Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, etc.) to use for signing up for stuff, so junk mail goes there
  • You can gain an hour a week by not having to go through junk e-mail
  • Plan and prepare for waiting by carrying stuff with you, so when you end up waiting somewhere, you can make good use of your time to catch up on reading; or close your eyes and de-compress -- there's nothing wrong with doing nothing
How to minimize interruptions:
  • People who drop in at your office -- remove visitor chairs to prevent co-workers from dropping in and spending too much time
  • Meetings -- hold stand-up meetings; people don't want to stand for more than 10 minutes at a time.
  • Ask what the issue is, and if you don't have time to talk right now, schedule 15 minutes with them later on at a time convenient for both. "I want 15 more minutes to work on this, and after that I can devote 100% of my energy to listening to you."
  • Learn to say no -- before answering yes, say "let me consult my calendar; I want to make sure I can give you 100% of my time" or say "I need to consult my calendar, call me about it next week." Say "ask me again in a couple of years". Choose what projects in which to invest your time. It's OK to say no after the fact if it isn't working for you, or your schedule has changed.
  • Schedule an hour of "red flag" time, a time of no interruptions, as in "if the red flag is up, please don't bother me." Use it only when you absolutely can not be bothered. Protect your time from interruptions. Ask your staff to deflect interruptions by saying phrases like "I'm sorry she's not available; is there anything I can help you with?"
Meetings:
  • Any meeting you're having, make sure you're sticking to the agenda. Assign each agenda item a timespan, to set expectations for the length of the meeting. Encourage attendees to send additional agenda items ahead of time.
  • Delegate to an attendee the job of being a time-keeper to help keep you on schedule.s
  • Have meeting before lunch.
  • Have meetings before the end of the work day.
  • If a meeting goes on too long, perhaps there were too many items on the agenda, or maybe you don't have enough face-time with those folks and they feel this is their chance to have a voice.
  • Can you send someone else in your place?
  • If you're invited to speak at a meeting, ask to be first on the agenda so you may absent yourself after your contribution.
Lack of focus:
  • Prepare ahead of time; know what your day is going to look like. Maybe the last 5-10 minutes of your work day, look at what's coming up tomorrow. Look at what items you didn't get to today, and see where they can fit in the following days. This way you can put your day "to bed", so you're not thinking of your day when you're at home or trying to fall asleep.
  • This motivates you to get started on your day, to get started on your to-do list. You've made a conscious decision of how to invest your time for that day.
Junk mail:
  • Get yourself off of mailing lists.
  • Stand over the recycle bin as you look at your mail; don't let mail make it into a pile on the kitchen table or counter.
Magazine subscriptions:
  • What do you subscribe to, that you don't necessarily need?
  • If you take it out of your mailbox and just put it on a pile, maybe it's time to cancel the subscription. You might get a refund on the un-used portion of your subscription.
Technology:
  • Learn to use your software efficiently; take a class or ask a techie.
  • Delegate to someone else on staff who has skills in that area or software.
Tools you can use:
  • Put dollar amounts on the items on your to-do list. If it's just a pennys-worth = doesn't need to be done, it can be delegated, or it can wait until another time. Group these low-value items together and get them done when you can.
  • Focus on the items that have the highest return on your investment of time.
  • Use the Time Management Matrix from Steven Covey's The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People
  • Find when you're at your peak? When can you focus the best? When are you the most creative? That's when to schedule in the urgent activities on your Time Management Matrix.
Focus:
  • Does the project seem to be too huge? If so, break it down and allocate 15 minutes in your calendar to focus on that chunk of it. Block that time in your calendar. Maybe make this red-flag time.
  • Be present in the moment when you've chosen an activity in which to invest your time.

Wiki the Plan!

Lisa emailed this out yesterday, but it's worth repeating:

Whether you're at the conference or not, you can "make connections" with WLA by participating in the strategic planning process. We have set up a wiki with the draft document on it. It's even provided as a main page on the computers in the Internet Room at Conference.

You may go to http://www.wla.lib.wi.us/conferences/2006/internet/ and get the wiki password, click on a link and then comment or even edit the document. It's actually pretty easy; just click and see for yourself. And you can't mess it up because we can always roll back to a previous version.

Besides, this is a draft in progress, and we have a ways to go before we decide on final activities and final wording of the mission, vision, and goals. That's why it will be important to have more member feedback.

Is there something you'd like WLA to do more of? A major goal that you feel we're missing? You can certainly talk to any of the WLA board members and staff, email us - or now, you can wiki!


I encourage you to do this -- or, at the very least, take a look at the plan.

It's good and good for you...

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

WLA 2006: Hints for the Kalahari

Like Pete wrote, almost everything you need is under one roof--and if you didn't bring it you can buy it here.

However, if you'd rather NOT buy it here, here are some hints:

BYOC--There is good high speed cabled internet access in the rooms, but they don't provide cables so bring your own.

There is wireless access at the convention center and in the hotel lobby, and a couple of internet stations in the halls between the hotel and the convention center.

Coat Hangers -- there are only 8 coathangers in a room, so you might want to bring some--or else pack more sensibly than I did.

If you plan to use the WaterPark (which is a blast, BTW), bring flip-flops or water shoes and some sort of cover-up/shirt, or your own beach towel. It is a fairly long walk from the hotel rooms to the park and you can't take towels from one place to the other. It costs money to rent lockers.

There are refrigerators (empty & usable--not pre-stocked with outrageously expensive liquor) and microwaves in the hotel rooms.

That's all I can think of at the moment...Have a safe drive, see you soon!

WLA 2006: A Happenin' Place

The Kalahari is an amazing place. It's just huge but it's pretty easy to get around. You don't actually have to go outside if you don't want to but the weather today (apart from being really windy) was very nice and I enjoyed a nice stroll around the grounds this afternoon.

The Kalahari staff has been extremely helpful getting conference stuff out of cars and into the building (a special shout-out to Charis who helped us get the auction stuff inside) and everyone's very friendly and accommodating.

So -- if you're not here already, c'mon down!

WLA 2006: Banta winner featured in Magazine

Way to go, Sean Carroll! His book, Endless Forms Most Beautiful: The New Science of Evo Devo, is this year's WLA Banta winner, and he'll be speaking here in the Dells on Thursday. So how cool is it that he happens to be featured in the latest issue of National Geographic?

The 25-page article by Carl Zimmer is called "A Fin is a Limb is a Wing: How Evolution Fashioned its Masterworks," and Carroll is one of several developmental biologists interviewed about the fascinating similarities between the cellular structures of all living organisms - from the tiny fruit fly to human beings. (We all have more in common than anyone ever imagined, Carroll asserts). The article also includes some of Carroll's images, not to mention some pretty amazing photographs.

I was priviliged to serve on the Literary Commitee that ranked Endless Forms Most Beautiful (the title is taken from Darwin's Origin of the Species) the best book by a Wisconsin author in 2005. You really have to read it to appreciate Carroll's amazing insights. Carroll takes a very complex subject (not to mention timely, given recent headlines about embryonic research), and makes it intriguing, funny, even suspenseful. It reads like a good mystery story, which of course evolutionary biology is. We understand his students at UW-Madison love him. He is a professor in the Genetics and Molecular Biology Department, and is known for using lyrics from Jimi Hendrix and The Doors to make his points. He uses them in the book, too.

You can meet Dr. Carroll at 4:00 p.m. Thursday in the Cypress Room, as well as at the Awards Banquet. Come and hear him speak, then read the book. And pick up the November issue of National Geographic while you're at it.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

WLA 2006: The best conference ever

When Joy put a call out for guest bloggers a few weeks ago I jumped at the chance. Sure, I appreciate the opportunity to improve my (very amateur) blogging skills. But mostly I really do think this year's conference will be terrific. So many wonderful speakers, so many presenters sharing their expertise, so many great minds from all over the state coming together to network, exchange handouts, eat great food, and push each other down the waterslides. You really have to hand it to the conference planners; they've put together one exciting shindig in a fun locale, and I'm grateful to be a part of it.

Among the several presenters I can't wait to meet are Sanford Berman and Jessamyn West. I consider Berman, a retired head cataloger, one of our profession's genuine heroes. Most famous for his advocacy of more accurate and inclusive subject headings, he has also spent considerable time combating poverty, senseless violence, sexism, and oppression. One of the articles on his site is called "The People's Librarian." That's a good way to think about him: sort of the Howard Zinn of librarianship - always putting us back in touch with our consciences. His Wednesday afternoon workshop (2 p.m. Aralia Room) is appropriately titled, "What do poor people need & deserve from libraries." His luncheon speech begins at 12:30, Thursday in the A&H Room.

West is behind the wonderful website librarian.net and was co-editor of the mind-blowing book, Revolting Librarians Redux. Her passion, as she puts it, is "mucking about in the intersection of libraries, technology and politics and describing what I find there." She'll talk on tech trends in libraries Friday at 9 a.m. in the Guava Room, and discuss small libraries and the digital divide at 10:30 in Suite 3.

Friday, October 27, 2006

MATS Blogging the 2006 WLA Conference

The MATS blogging team is at it again! Like we did at the WAPL 2006 Conference, 1 regular WLA blogger & 2 3 guest bloggers will be posting their notes about WLA Conference happenings here on the WLA blog.

The bloggers are...
Look for their write-ups & photos of WLA happenings here all this week!

We'll also be linking to presenters' PowerPoint presentations & handouts, posts about the WLA Conference seen on other blogs, and Flickr photos with the tag "WLA2006".

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Marathon County Public Library goes wireless

From today's Wausau Daily Herald: "Wausau library hooks up patrons with free wireless Net." It's not cutting edge (according to Mike Cross from DLTCL, "In early 2006, 101 out of 388 Wisconsin public libraries offered wireless service...of the remaining 287, 76 had plans to add the technology by 2007") but it's nice to see a new library service getting some press. Way to go, MCPL!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

WPR Program on School Libraries

If you didn't get to tune in this morning to hear about school libraries, go to
the Wisconsin Public Radio archives for the following:

The following program was broadcast today on Wisconsin Public Radio's The Kathleen Dunn Show:
The number of certified Library Media Specialists in Wisconsin has fallen dramatically in recent years. After ten, Kathleen Dunn and her guests discuss the shortage, and what the state should do about it. Guests:
- Kate Bugher, School Library Media Consultant, Division for Libraries, Technology, and Community Learning, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.
- Madge Klais, assistant professor, School Library Media Program Coordinator, UW Madison.

The program can be heard at http://www.wpr.org/kathleendunn/.

Madge and Kate did a great job talking about the issues - of course.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Chippewa Falls in the News

Kathy McAlister, reference librarian at the Chippewa Falls Public Library, has a nice article in the Chippewa Herald: "New electronic services offered at library."

From the article: "The Chippewa Falls Public Library is introducing new services to expand access to information and streamline customer service, including self-service computer registration, after-hours access to reference service, and access to a digital repository of items regarding Wisconsin heritage."

Get the word out...

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Librarians in the News

The La Crosse Tribune did a nice "Monday Profile" of La Crosse County Librarian, Chris McArdle Rojo: "God bless the teachers at St. James Elementary School. They’re the reason Chris McArdle Rojo became a librarian...."

Interesting Journal Sentinel story about Ewa Barczyk, interim director of libraries at UWM, and her husband, history professor, Neal Pease. They returned an important collection of medieval diocuments from Wisconsin to Poland...

Not so good news in the Journal Sentinel: "MPS often lacks librarians:
Staffing cuts put schools at odds with state policies."
The JS notes that Milwaukee Public Schools had "more than 100" librarians 6 years ago and now is down to 56. Since we know that "research links school library media centers and library media specialists to student success," fewer library media specialists is a Bad Thing.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Friends of Wisconsin Libraries Join WLA

Members of the Friends of Wisconsin Libraries voted to dissolve FOWL and join forces with the Wisconsin Library Association at their annual meeting earlier this year. The move allows Friends to focus on supporting their local libraries, rather than managing the activities of a statewide organization.

Since 2005, WLA's leaders have been communicating formally with FOWL’s leaders about how such a transition might take place. The Wisconsin Library Trustees Association, a division of WLA, changed their name to Wisconsin Library Trustees & Advocates in 2005, in order to make it clearer that all library supporters were welcome to participate in their activities and leadership positions. The WLA Board adopted reduced membership and conference registration fees for Friends.

As part of WLA, Friends are adding their voices to others who speak up for Wisconsin’s libraries. There is a great deal of potential in this budding relationship. Members are encouraged to post their comments about this recent change and what it might mean for libraries in the state.

Friday, June 16, 2006

WAPL 2006: two more links to presenters' materials

Two more WAPL 2006 programs' PowerPoint presentations are now available from the Resource Sharing Round Table's web site:

Friday, May 12, 2006

WAPL 2006 wrap-up & presenter materials

As a follow-up to MATS' blog coverage of the 2006 WAPL Conference, here are links to presenters' materials we've located so far:

As more PowerPoint presentations and handouts are found, we'll link to them here - and please feel free to add more in the comments on this post.

We had a blast "blogging the con", and hope to round up more MATSians to blog the WLA Conference this fall!

- Joy and Nichole

Update 5/17: Some post-WAPL conference info is now up on the WLA site.

Friday, May 05, 2006

WAPL 2006: Performance Appraisal: Why? What If? What Else?

Patty Dwyer's presentation provided an overview of the pros and cons of traditional performance appraisal methods, and offered alternative methods to provide your employees with valuable feedback.

A really good job description is necessary before a performance appraisal; update job descriptions if necessary.

Performance evaluation is defined as the process of evaluating how someone is functioning.
  • an employee's performance is rated
  • ratings are for a specified time period
  • one system is applied to all employees
  • mandatory
  • ratings are preserved by the employer, i.e. kept on file
Ratings in themselves are not motivational, and can instead be de-motivational.

Why do we do performance appraisals?
  • to assess how well the individual is doing their job
  • we want to them to have a motiovational impact for the employee
  • to award a pay increase
  • to justify a layoff
  • to develop coaching
  • as a basis for discipline
  • the board requires it
Traditional performance appraisal weaknesses:
  • they're time-consuming
  • personnel are not trained to provide feedback
  • the performance appraisal system isn't integrated well with other company systems
  • goals for the performance appraisal system are incompatible
Common rater biases & errors:
  • categorization and stereotyping
  • favoritism
  • gender, age and race biases
  • leniency
  • severity
  • halo and horn
  • recency (i.e., who can remember what happened 6 months ago)
Peer appraisal:
  • changes the psychological context
  • peers can provide relevant information
  • potentially more accurate than traditional performance appraisal
  • requires acceptance by all on the team
  • better for development than traditional performance appraisal systems
  • gives employees a voice when being appraised
  • raters need to see the value of their efforts
  • feedback seen as a valuable tool
  • still need to agree upon standards
Why do we keep performance appraisals if they don't work?
  • they're legally required
  • because we want the results
  • we think people need feedback
  • we need to determine merit raises
Reasons why you might want to abolish performance appraisal:
  • it erodes performance
  • it's damaging to morale and motivation
  • it fosters a short-term view
  • it fosters fear and lack of trust
  • the prcess is expensive and time-consuming
What do people value?
  • feedback & recognition
  • involvement in job design
Coaching the poor performer:
  • annual performance appraisal isn't the right place to coach the poor performer
  • instead use a separate evaluative process with goals and
Ways in which you can recognize employees that aren't monetrary or pay-based:
  • letter of commendation
  • announcement in newsletter
  • peer-nominated awards
  • passes to local businesses
  • best parking spot for a week
  • offer creative benefits like "bring your pet to work day"
  • consider sabbatical leaves
  • pizza party
Can give up performance appraisals?
  • eliminate ratings if you can; if not use pass/fail if you must; try a 1-5 rating system
  • make the process collaborative, giving the employee as much of the responsibility as possible; give employees a feedback source
  • provide an alternative annual feedback session
Tips for the recovering appraiser:
  • don't require appraisals to be placed in the personnel file; perhaps the supervisor and employee could keep it themselves
  • instead of performance appraisals, use a written feedback system with no reference to pay
  • require performance appraisals only for those who need improvement

WAPL 2006: Baby Sign Language

From "more," "milk" and "eat," to "The Itsy Bitsy Spider," presenter Vicki Patterson gave youth services librarians a head start on using ASL (the 3rd most used language in the US) to communicate with toddlers and babies. She recommended ASL instead of Baby Sign because more schools use ASL, and children raised on Baby Sign have the disadvantage of having to re-learn their signs. Here are some tips she shared:

  • The easier the book, the better - a picture dictionary is too much info.
  • Try flannel boards to make signing at storytime easier.
  • Touchy-feely flash cards with pictures of real things are better than flash cards with pictures of toys. B&N and Target have good ones.
  • For older kids, the Caterpillar Spring, Butterfly Summer pop-up book is a cute one.
  • Signs for Me by Ben Bahan and Joe Dannis
  • It's OK to use your dominant hand to sign
  • Signing Time videos are even better than Baby Einstein. Greg & Steve are also good.
  • Some signs can bite you in the butt :) - especially "share" and "more"
  • Toddler Favorites is a good CD.
Vicki led the audience in several sign-alongs, including "Itsy Bitsy Spider," "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star," and more. A good time was had by all.

WAPL 2006: Have you Heard About...

Presenter Stef Morrill gave an animated show-and-tell of dozens of great ideas - books, web sites, services - that we can use in our libraries (and just for ourselves!). Without further ado:

Pandora - it's like reader's advisory for music; enter the title of a song you like and Pandora will find other music you might like

"squeezebox": a brand name for a small device you plug into your stereo that will stream music from your computer to your stereo if you have a wireless network

lifehacker.com: "computers make us more productive...yeah, right!" - all about neat things and ways to work faster and better, with more fun - great sites, great tips, really cool stuff; it's a blog so you can subscribe to its RSS feeds

zohowriter.com - web-based word processor, you can have templates, share documents with other people

Open WorldCat - the OCLC database searchable through Google; enter your zip code to find a nearby library that owns the items you want; at Santa Monica PL, if you search the catalog, it will use Open WorldCat to tell you what libraries nearby also own the item

PEZ mp3 player - w00t

Web 2.0: a buzzy word for social-type applications on the web

Furl - a social bookmarking tool; see who else has Furled stuff you've Furled, and find other cool apps they've Furled; RSS feeds are generated; del.icio.us is similar

OPAL: Online programming for all libraries - great free CE content, programs about really interesting stuff (intro to eBay, etc.); past presentations are available as Podcasts

pdfonline.com - free PDF converter online, convert a file of up to 2MB; this one does MS Publisher format (as opposed to other PDF converter services)

EngagedPatrons.Org - small libraries <$1 million budget can get; they'll do free calendars, blogs, create RSS feeds, they'll host it for your library, custom web-enabled databases

Google librarian center - a monthly newsletter to inform librarians about what Google is doing

Beyond Bullet Points - a book that teaches you how to not make those bulleted-lists presentations

in2tv - from AOL, full episodes of old TV shows (F Troop, Growing Pains, Alice, Head of the Class, Perfect Strangers, The Fugitive, Welcome Back Kotter); you need Windows Media Player

Google Video: downloadable onlne video; how would libraries collect/catalog digital media like this? How do libraries help patrons who don't have fast internet access, use this stuff?

ask.com mapping tools - Coolest. Mapping tool. Ever. Change from driving directions to walking directions. Drag places around, and it will re-adjust your route. You can map more than 2 locations. Provides geographical-types of maps.

Google Calendar - create calendars and share them with other people (refrigerator calendars for family members); cool Firefox extension makes it easy to add items; event reminders; connects with Gmail

Scrapbook - a Firefox browser plug-in; in seconds capture a web page on your PC's hard drive; great for making "canned" presentations where you might not have internet access

HD-DVD - it's coming now; another DVD format; Blu-Ray is a competing format (that'll be a cataloging nightmare, sigh)

everystockphoto.com - every photo has a Creative Commons license instead of a copyright - image search area with thumbnails of images; hover over an image to see the larger version of it

tiltomo.com - image searching based on color or texture or theme or subject

librarything.com: catalog your own books online - up to 200 free, a charge for more. It keeps track of your personal library; it's a social reader's advisory tool; see what other people who own a book are reading & get book recommendations; pulls in a book's cover art from Amazon, and catalog info from LC; instead of assigning subject headings to books "mundanes" tag books with keywords

wislisjobs.com - Jess Bruckner's project, lists job openings in the state, if you're looking for a job subscribe to the RSS feed

Google SMS - text-messaging on a cellphone; use Google from your cellphone; put in your zip code and the movie you're looking for and you'll receive a quick answer via text message. Sports, translations, driving directions, etc.

My Language.gov.au - a search engine web directory in multiple languages; Internet Basics handouts in multiple languages that you can link to from your library's web site; selected by librarians in Australia

Platial.com - create a map & link it to content you already have, add pictures and link it to your web site. Use it for local history, Wisconsin authors, historical markers, etc.

WebJunction.org - info on technology planning, fundraising tips, CE courses. An audience member recommends their tech atlas feature for keeping track of your tech inventory

rollyo.com - roll your own search engine; define which web sites you want it to search. Maybe a library could roll their "internet search by subject" pages into a specialized search engine.

Playaway - self-playing digital audiobook; the book is pre-loaded on the device; libraries can circulate them like books (they're pretty durable); they're coming out with a library discount program this summer

Libraries411 - based on your zip code it pulls up a map of all the libraries in your area; you can edit the information about your library; you can use this map on your library's web site

Mashup (v): to take data from 2 or more sources and shove them on top of each other

Weatherbonk - mashup of Google/Yahoo maps and weather info

Sounddogs - sound effects galore; you can preview them for free and download them for cheap

Wink - a social tool search engine that searches other social tools; you can rank search engine results

U3 - operating system to load apps on a portable flash/thumb drive; load your browser & bookmarks

Wikipedia - great for definitions for technical terms

Clusty - search results grouped by type

Firefox browser: an amazing, free web browser

Whew!!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

WAPL 2006: What Are They Doing at the Capitol?

This session was presented by Michael J. Keane, Senior Legislative Analyst, Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau. He gave an informative program about the Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau, which is a service agency that is the main source of information for legislative business. The LRB has a statutory obligation to serve the public.

For answers to your questions you can call them at 608-266-0341 or find what you need at the LRB web site http://www.legis.state.wi.us/.

On the LRB web site you can find answers to:
  • What committee hearings are going on?
  • Can I listen to the legislature online? Yes, real-time audio of floor debates, etc. is available.
  • What's going on in the legislature right now?
  • How did my legislator vote on a bill?
  • Who represents me; who are my legislators? You can find his/her name, photo, email address and web site
  • What district do I live in? Legislative districts change based on population shifts.
  • How can I follow a piece of legislation?
Sign up for the Legislative Notification Service to receive an email message each time there's action on a bill. You can sign up to keep up on the status of a particular bill, the author of a bill, a committee or a topic.

The Wisconsin Legislative Spotlight is a summary of what has recently happened.

The Wisconsin Legislature Infobase is a keyword-searchable database of bills and proposals, from 1995 to today. Prior to 1995 the information is available in hardcopy only; the LRB will make photocopies for just about anyone.

Wisconsin State Statutes are searchable online by keyword; if you're looking for the "lemon law" or "minimum markup law" they're searchable by their popular names.

The Wisconsin Law Archive has scanned copies of acts and statutes back to 1969, and they're continuing to add more.

Every State of Wisconsin Blue Book is available online, back to 1997.

Also available is a glossary of legislative terms.

The Eye on Lobbying shows you who's lobbying, what they're lobbying about and what organizations with which they're associated. Find which bills had the most lobbying effort.