Alaska Library Brings New Meaning to Lending

October 7th, 2015

As libraries try to re-invent themselves and offer to lend items not in their traditional purview, we have seen them invest in tools for hardware lending ventures and packets of seeds for gardening loan.  A library in Alaska, however, has for many years lent skulls, fur and bones of animals to those that have a need for such things.  Actually, there are a surprising number of needs for pellets and other realia of the animal kingdom–swearing in ceremonies, Harry Potter outings, show-and-tell.  Collection pieces are usually lent to educational personnel or curators but not to the general public but, for the possession of a library card, the Alaska Resources Library and Information Services can be your one stop to the 3D animal education.  Read.

Review – You Can’t Teach Nice: Retail Management Strategies for Enhanced Library Customer Service (Presenter–Amanda E. Perrine, MLIS)

October 5th, 2015

We attended a workshop at WNYLRC on September 9, 2016 on You Can’t Teach Nice by Amanda E. Perrine from Syracuse University. I first heard about this topic at the New York State Library Assistants’ Association (NYSLAA) conference in Corning last June. An attendee from the Rochester area gave a report at the town meeting on workshops RRLC had given for library assistants during the previous year. Amanda’s workshop was one of them and it sounded interesting. As Conference Coordinator for NYSLAA, I contacted her about presenting it at the 2016 NYSLAA conference which will be at Chautauqua Institution. She agreed to present. Shortly after, I saw that she was going to present it for WNYLRC and we decided to attend.

Amanda started by showing an example of poor library customer service she had encountered that made her not want to ask for help again. The librarian did not acknowledge her presence for several minutes after she approached the desk. Then she related many policies from retail businesses that conveyed how they properly treat their customers. She reminded us that most library patrons believe that if you work in a library, you are a librarian and should be able to provide them an answer. One of the most important things in helping the patron is the first impression. Greet everyone with a smile and a welcome, which means stopping what you are working on at the desk. The first 15 seconds will set the tone for the encounter. She talked about the physical space too. Does your desk give a welcoming feeling to the patrons? If not, is there something simple you can do to create that feeling? Is your signage clear and large enough to catch the eye of the patron? Make sure your staff understands the library’s policies and empower the staff to enforce or make small exceptions without having to seek out someone higher. Upsell when you can. If a patron is inquiring about an author, if you can,say “If you like this author you might also enjoy reading this.” Ask the patron’s name and use it during the encounter if appropriate.

Amanda’s bottom line was, you can’t teach nice, it is a personality trait. You can train your staff to treat patrons with courtesy and respect.

Ruth V. Oberg
Carrie E. Goetz
University Libraries
University at Buffalo


WNYLRC Workshop: The Basics of HTML and CSS by Sarah McLean-Plunkett

September 29th, 2015

I recently attended WNYLRC’s The Basics of HTML and CSS Workshop on September 28, 2015. Even if you do not want to build your own website from scratch these are useful tools for customizing, for instance, Libguides. I had previously learned the basics of both HTML and CSS in my M.L.I.S. program and even built my own website, but it had been some time since I had used them. I was somewhat concerned that I was either going to be bored or overwhelmed–depending on the pace of the instructor. I am relieved to report that the three hours flew by and the instructor, Jaclyn McKewan, struck just the right balance. The handouts were helpful, clear, and concise. She even offered a list of additional resources. It was definitely worth the time. Hint: I am a little rusty on my XML…

Sarah’s entry points out that brushing up on your html and css skills can help you alter and customize your library’s website features so your patron experience is improved. This is exactly what will be presented when Randy Oldham from Guelph University comes to WNYLRC to present “Hacking Your Discovery Layer” on Friday, October 16th. As Sarah points out, improving your coding skills can also help you create better LibGuides, and creating Libguides, even Local History Guides, will be the focus of other upcoming training sessions: “Creating Local History Guides Online” (Oct. 27th) and “Creating Libguides” (December 3rd).

Honor Banned Website Day, September 30, 2015

September 29th, 2015

We all know that it’s Banned Book Week but let’s take a moment to pause for Banned Website Day on September 30, 2015.  The American Association of School Librarians has made a point of addressing the overly restrictive filtering of websites in schools.  This is more than just an opportunity to protest; this can affect a district’s E-rate funding, not to mention that students have workarounds anyway.

OCLC Updates Session at WNYLRC Provided an In-Person Opportunity

September 28th, 2015

I attended the OCLC Updates session held at WNYLRC on September 22, 2015. Rob Favini, OCLC Member Liaison, was the speaker and also in attendance was Tony Skoczylas, OCLC Library Services Consultant, who helped field some questions. Mr. Favini mentioned that OCLC has become aware that its disbanding of the old OCLC network structure did away with a valuable opportunity for OCLC to communicate with its members. This session and a series of member forums are being held to address this problem. There will be a member forum held in Rochester, N.Y. on October 2, 2015 and it will include focus groups (

A lot of ground was covered in this 3-hour timeslot. As a cataloger, I tended to tune in most to the cataloging and metadata topics. But I’ll try to summarize a few of the points I took away:

  • Everyone is confused with the changes in OCLC services and names, many of which include the words WorldCat or WorldShare. And the relationship between these services can be difficult to figure out too.
  • WorldShare Metadata Services includes the Record Manager and the Collection Manager. It will eventually replace Connexion, but that is a ways off and no date has been set by OCLC.
  • WorldShare Management Services is the ILS portion of OCLC’s services. It goes by the acronym WMS. Even though WorldShare Metadata Services technically would share the same acronym, it is not used for the latter. I fell into that one and was corrected J
  • WorldCat Discovery Services will replace both FirstSearch and WorldCat Local. The end-of-life for FirstSearch had been announced as December 31, 2015, but that has been erased as libraries are very dissatisfied with the Discovery product. It seems no end-of-life had been announced for WorldCat Local and both OCLC staffers had no idea when that would go away. There is lots of training available on Discovery, including live office hours and tutorials broken down into small pieces. will remain as is. Eventually it will have features of Discovery added to it.
  • CONTENTdm is keeping its name and the next release (7.0) will include responsive design.
  • On the linked data front, OCLC is working with the Library of Congress on BibFrame. ( There is also a pilot program called Person Entity Lookup which “will help library professionals reduce redundant data by linking related sets of person identifiers and authorities.” (*******

I often view free OCLC webinars on various topics, but I appreciated this opportunity to attend an in-person presentation and to hear and participate in asking questions.

Ellen McGrath, University at Buffalo Law Library

*****WNYLRC will be offering a Linked Data session on November 12, 2015 with Ken Fujiuchi.  Go to to register!!!