WNY Banned Books Week Roundup

September 27th, 2016

This week is Banned Books Week, but if you don’t have anything planned, you can always start considering some ideas for next year. Let’s take a look at what some of our member libraries are doing:

The University at Buffalo has a Banned Books Display at Lockwood Library.

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Several Nioga libraries: Perry Public Library has a display of banned books, Richmond Memorial Library has a display of controversial movies, and the Corfu Free Library had a banned book theme for its book club.

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Canisius College’s Bouwhuis Library is having several events this week, including readings from important historically banned/censored works, and a discussion led by librarian Jessie Blum.

The Just Buffalo Writing Center invited Canisius College Archivist Kathleen Delaney to speak to students about books that have been banned.

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A Local “Little Free Library” in an Unlikely Place

September 20th, 2016

Last night I took my dog to one of the local off-leash dog parks, the Ellicott Island Bark Park (stay with me, this is library-related). This is part of Ellicott Creek Park, but being on an island (with a gate across the bridge) has made it an ideal place to take your dog for some running or playtime. I was surprised to see that near the middle of the island was a book case.

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I took a look around the side and back, and confirmed that this was, indeed, a “little free library”.

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In case you haven’t heard the term, the movement’s website explains:

A Little Free Library is a “take a book, return a book” free book exchange. They come in many shapes and sizes, but the most common version is a small wooden box of books. Anyone may take a book or bring a book to share.

Little Free Libraries have been springing up around Western New York for years, and have previously been written about in Buffalo Rising and The Buffalo News. This map on the Little Free Library website shows that there are a ton of them in the Western NY area, with a variety of organizers, including schools, non-profits, and individuals (although the dog park one wasn’t listed there). Consider checking the map for LFLs near you.

It just goes to show that you never know where you’ll end up spotting a library-related service!

My dog, Ash, checks out the little free library.

My dog, Ash, checks out the little free library.

Jennifer Potter Promotes NF Library Programs and Partnerships

September 7th, 2016

Acting Director of the Niagara Falls Public Library, and active WNYLRC member Jennifer Potter had a letter published in the Niagara Gazette this week. In it, she announced that the library was partnering with Abate School (part of the Niagara Falls City School System), and Niagara University’s Family Literacy Center, to create an after-school literacy program.

It just goes to show how important it is for libraries to form partnerships within their local community, in order to stay relevant to patrons, and provide new and innovative services. For more examples of library partnerships, check out this article from Tech Soup for Libraries, Ten Examples of Successful Library Collaborative Projects.

Jennifer also wrote a letter in the Niagara Gazette last month, introducing herself and the library. WNYLRC got a mention for our grant funding of some of her digitization projects (thanks!), and she made the case for increased library funding. We’d love to see this as a regular feature in the paper, and encourage our other members to do the same with their own local papers. Nice work, Jennifer!

NY Libraries at the State Fair

September 6th, 2016

For the third year in a row, New York state’s libraries had a presence at the New York State Fair. It was once again coordinated by the Central New York Library Resources Council, our sister organization in the Syracuse area. Librarians from around the state (myself included) signed up to staff shifts at the table, greeting people and inviting them to participate in our Wheel of Trivia. Kids and adults alike enjoyed answering questions in a range of topics, including history, fiction and science.

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We also had a balloon display set up, showing Curious George in a tree, celebrating the character’s 75th birthday. The display was created by Jeff the Magic Man. It definitely caught attention and many people stopped to take a photo of it.

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To promote our digital collection sites New York Heritage and New York State Historic Newspapers, we had a Chromebook set up as a kiosk, allowing users to browse the two sites or search for their local library.

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It was great talking to people from around the state and hearing how libraries are still a part of their lives. Many commented on the fact that they take their children regularly for story hour, or commented on how the library has been useful to them by providing computer use and internet access. We hope that by conducting outreach like this, libraries will remain in people’s minds as a place to go not just for books, but a multitude of services!

Let your users tag your NY Heritage items

September 1st, 2016

I just wrote a post on the New York Heritage blog about how you can tag images on the site. It was mainly directed at users/patrons, serving as a how-to, but it’s worth checking out if you’re not familiar with the idea of tagging.

CONTENTdm, the software that New York Heritage runs on, allows users to tag items and leave comments. I’ve been sending monthly statistics to each of our NYH participants, and starting next month, I will also be notifying you of any tags or comments left on your items. Let’s take a look at what’s been popular with our users:

Main St., west side, north of Chippewa St.

This photo is from the George Nathan Newman Collection of Photographs of Vanishing Buffalo, from the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library. It has 3 tags entered by users:

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This provides more information about the image that wasn’t in the original metadata, such as the fact that it’s an example of Italianate architecture.

Here’s another one:

Dr. Sage’s Catarrh Remedy Bottle

This is from the Nickell Collection of Dr. R.V. Pierce Medical Artifacts, from the Center for Inquiry. Rather than a scanned image, it’s a photo of a physical item in the collection. Three comments were left:

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Here, some users talk about coming across similar items themselves. This again adds richer information, and might encourage other users to post comments too.

So how can you make use of this?

  1. Encourage your users to post comments! Especially if you have any NYH items with comments already, maybe spotlight the discussion in your marketing or social media and ask users to join in and contribute.
  2. Encourage your users to add tags. Maybe start a tagging contest? When a user adds a tag, it asks for a name, which isn’t published but is visible on the back-end. So one possibility is seeing who can add the most tags (accurate ones, of course) to your collection within a certain timeframe. If they enter their email address as the name, the winner can later be contacted.

Are you already taking advantage of these New York Heritage features? Let us know!