Patrons Tales

Posted on November 16, 2009. Filed under: Libraries and Librarians | Tags: , , |

Another RA idea, this time from Marla at Great Falls Public Library

A patron suggested the library purchase a blank journal book and make it available for patrons to write their own thoughts, stories, etc. in.

A staff member purchased a nice “old looking” journal, fairly large-sized (maybe 8 1/2″ x 11″). The covers are done like an old leather bound book. We made a title for the spine called Patrons’ Tales, barcoded it, made a short title record & processed it like a regular book. We had a special display out in the lobby for the adult summer reading program and included the blank book with a brief explanation of what it is; this helped draw attention to it. We now have it available on the readers’ advisory desk when it is in.

I was worried we would get nasty comments, words, etc. but so far it has been quite delightful. Patrons have entered poetry, short stories, some art work and observations on life. The book has actually had holds placed on it as it seems to go in and out quite regularly.

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Readers Advisory work

Posted on November 16, 2009. Filed under: Reader's Advisory | Tags: , , |

The following was a response in the Fiction-L list for librarians interested in Readers Advisory. People had been asked about what sort of stuff they do to improve their service. This reply was from David Wright at Seattle Public Library which has an interesting blog, ShelfTalk.

We rove also; or rather, our dept. -the Fiction dept – roves, on a slightly different model. Basically each hour shift we ask each of our two ‘on desk’ librarians to get ‘off desk’ and rove our floor – which is a full city block in size – at least once. Some of us are prone to do that more, and we do other stuff while we’re out there such as tidying up, stocking displays and keeping an eye on rules violations and stuff, but it has also been where most of our RA interactions start, as well as tons of less involved help – directional stuff and popping up to give them the name of the author they seem to be trying to read off the ceiling tiles.

We DID attempt an online personalized reading form, very much on the model of WRL and some other places (and Neil & them were super helpful in giving us advice), and it was a spectacular success, garnering bucketfuls of lavish praise from its users that the library board was very impressed with as well. These forms had a positive effect on our department’s internal
workings as well, as we had (in some cases anyway) all this detailed, recorded information about our patrons that we then could work on together using a Wiki, which was a really healthy collaborative process for our advisors.

The only trouble for us was with the online profiles is, it was TOO successful. With almost NO publicity for this, just word of mouth, we were getting more and more of these – I’m trying to recall the exact numbers but it was upwards of 50 per month – and even with a really great crew of advisors in our dept we just began to be swamped and had a hard time balancing it with our other responsibilities, and no real way to control how big it was getting. In the end we had to give it up. (In the big picture this was symptomatic of our failure to do RA training and work on a lot of this system-wide – we just didn’t feel like we could turn creating these lists loose on staff at large, which might have made it work. Maybe someday down the road). We still do lists for people, pretty much like we did before we did the online form, as a frequent follow-up to live transactions – which is still good, but not quite the same thing.

However, despite our own experience I still recommend online forms to libraries considering it – I haven’t heard of any other systems that were swamped the way were were at Seattle (aka Reading City USA), and it really is a great way to concentrate on RA. Read Neil’s article on this if you want to know more.

We also have catalog enhancement w/ LibraryThing and NoveList which is totally excellent, and do thematic displays as well as the most popular – the general Good Books You May Have Missed display – which really helps browsers to not be overwhelmed by the size of our stacks. One thing we can add to WRL: We’ve peppered the stacks themselves with Shelf Talkers – little plastic sleeves with personal suggestions from our staff scattered
throughout the stacks. Our library is very big and confusing and it is very easy for people to use the library a lot and never see a librarian, even with the roaming, so in addition to providing specific help (this tends to center more on authors that specific titles, which we wouldn’t have enough copies of to last – so these are profiles of popular authors, readalike suggestions, best title to start with, etc), the Shelf Talkers also make it clear that somewhere there are a bunch of people who work here who know a thing or two about books, and are interested in helping. Our booklists do this too, but the Shelf Talkers are more personal.

We have a Staff Favorites brochure that we do three or four times a year, that includes personal recommendations and blurbs from staff all over the system, and we have done Staff Favorites displays were we’ll each tag a shelf with our picks, w/ Shelf Talkers talking about them. Again, these are harder to stock than a regular Good Books display, and more popular if
anything, but I think they make good ambassadors for staff. A variation on this I saw at one of our branches was a dedicated shelf for picks by a particular staff member, with a tag just loosely talking about the kind of stuff they each liked, which made them rather easier to keep stocked.

In addition to several traditional book groups, we have an ongoing program called Let’s Talk About Books which is more of a book sharing sort of program – that is also a good lure for reluctant advisees. Our blogs, while not as reader’s advisory centric as BFGB, do offer lots of ideas for books, music, movies and other resources, often tying these together in novel or
timely ways that we wouldn’t have really done with a booklist, and now we have one of our blogs running off of the local newspaper site, which is getting some of that good RA stuff outside the walls and reaching a wider audience.

One thing we don’t have (and should) is simply a sign suggesting folks ask us for suggestions for something good to read. Seems a simple thing, but it winds up being a big production in a building like ours. That said, I have to say that the variety of things we’ve done have clearly had an effect, and whether they’ve witnessed us helping approaching and helping other patrons, or been approached themselves, orseen our online presence or our lists or
shelf talkers, more and more people are approaching us to ask for reader’s advisory, and of course we’re helping people who will never ask as well.

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Novel way to promote a library

Posted on June 30, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , |

Four literary-themed trucks are part of a new ad campaign for the Johnson County Library in the US. The libary hopes the trucks will spark interest and bring more readers to their doors.
The trucks were the idea of a local business, Barkley Advertising Agency, which offered it’s services free of charge and the library spent @ $5,000 on the decals that go on the trucks.

Company vice-president, Tom Demetriou,wanted to remind people of the sanctuary found at libraries, where the community is intrinsically bound by stories. “It’s a quiet place, where you can have your thoughts to yourself,” Demetriou said. “That is hard to find these days.”

The faux advertisement of the fictitious businesses may take a few seconds to get, but then they provide a good laugh, said Riley. “It shows the public the library has a sense of humor.”

Read the full story here and find out What’s with the trucks?

What a great idea . . . how we could transform Rita’s van . . . and for less than US$5000 don’t you think?

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Librarians capitalize on years of antisocial behaviour and squeezing things on to index cards by storming Twitter

Posted on June 25, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

That was what the link in the Book Ninja blog said and how could I resist?
The link is to a Guardian post about how libraries in the UK are using Twitter to to network and spread information among themselves and also to give information about author events and closing times to their borrowers.

Are any of you regular twitterers/tweeters out there is BMC Libraryland? Do you see it as a useful tool for BM City Libraries?

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In lean times and fat times alike, the public library is the one place where it’s always OK to overindulge

Posted on June 11, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , |

Here’s an article from a newspaper in Cincinnati, USA that’ll boost morale : What libraries are worth to us. The article came to me via Stephen’s Lighthouse. He picked out a couple favourite quotes from the article so I will too:

  • Young and old come together peaceably here, rich and poor, readers of mysteries and lovers of ancient philosophy. A library is a bastion of non-judgementalism and one of society’s great equalizers.
  • Equally appealing is the library’s unusual status as an intensely private public space. It’s the one place you can move in the presence of others without saying a word and not be thought rude. The library “dance” is the epitome of socialized behavior, strangers gracefully giving way to one another . . .
  • And from the Comments: One other thing about libraries that she didn’t mention in the article is that they don’t care what you look like or believe. The library is blind and proud of it.


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Should we make this a poster?

Posted on April 28, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , |

Found Stephen’s Lighthouse blog:

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Do you think we should get A3 posters made?

Posted on April 9, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: |

Look at what I found when lurking about at the Judge a book by its cover blog.
Think we have any cool BM people we could use this way?
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