Since we have discussed this issue repeatedly in the months of contentious negotiations between Hachette and Amazon. In their struggles to come to some agreement over price charged for an e-book and author involvement and, lastly, readers’ rights, the very public discord grew nasty at best. Now that some agreement has been reached, it seems that no one came out a 100% winner and the results pale in comparison to the months of mud-slinging. It’s a truce but a tenuous one and everyone gets the feeling that Christmas timing shopping had a LOT to do with the urgency to accomplish this accord. Read. It may not be over yet.
The workshops and speaker sessions at NYLA are of course a great way to learn about new trends, practices and success stories in the library world. But I also learned quite a bit by browsing the exhibit booths at the trade show, talking with colleagues and helping the SMART section:
- Rosetta Stone is back. I remember that several years ago, Rosetta Stone, the language-learning software, was available to libraries as an online subscription, but at some point they discontinued the service. As of March 2014, Rosetta Stone is once again available to libraries, through Ebsco databases. Perhaps they wanted to compete with Mango Languages, which many libraries have subscribed to in recent years. Read .
- People love games at the booths. WNYLRC employees helped staff the booth for the NY 3Rs Association, Inc, and for the second year in a row, we had a prize wheel for people to spin. This year it was a “wheel of trivia” where the spin determined a trivia question to be asked about the person’s library council, or all the councils as a whole. It definitely attracted positive attention from passersby.
- Webjunction is now free for everyone. The online courses for library workers previously had a cost – either to individual libraries or to state libraries that partnered with the project. Now the courses are free to all library workers and volunteers across the country. Sign up at http://learn.webjunction.org
- There’s another option for library apps. Before coming to NYLA, I only knew about Boopsie, the company that can create a mobile app for your library. At the trade show, I learned about Capira, who also create library apps. Your library’s app can integrate with your catalog and databases. It can even serve as a “virtual library card,” displaying the barcode on the screen for easy scanning at check-out. It also give you the ability to send notifications to app users, notifying them of closings or other information. Check it out .
- “Please Interrupt Me.” That’s what’s printed on posters and buttons provided by Grey House Publishing. It’s a great way to let patrons know they can feel free to come get help at the reference desk. I was able to snag a poster and button for myself, and you can download your own posters at http://www.greyhouse.com/helpdesk.htm
- A creative use for Library Box. You may have heard of Library Box, the device that allows you to provide free content over wifi without actually needing an internet connection. SMART (Section for Management of Information Resources and Technology) used this as a way to promote their conference sessions. At each SMART-sponsored session, a LibraryBox was available with a digital badge. Attendees could download the badge on their mobile device, collecting one at each session. At the end of the conference, the person with the most badges would win a prize (or there would be a drawing in case of a tie). If you attended our Gadgets & Gear conference in 2013, you already know about Library Box, but otherwise, you can learn about it at http://librarybox.us/
- People love games, part 2. At the SMART booth, we offered people a chance to play an iPad game. For one dollar, we handed them an iPad with a trivia game loaded on it (in the Technology category) and awarded prizes based on the number of questions answered correctly out of ten. This was a great success, with many people trying it out, and some people even choosing SMART section membership as their prize.
- What happens to all the clearance Halloween candy on November 1st. It gets bought by vendors for distribution at their NYLA booths. It was almost like trick-or-treating for adults.
- How to make a Makerspace. Or rather, I learned where to learn how to make a Makerspace. You may remember a blog article from 2013 about our RAC committee visiting the Fayetteville Free Library (http://wnylrcwatch.org/newsletter/?p=4556 ). They were the first U.S. public library to have a makerspace, and they had a booth with examples of some of their projects and activities. They also have information about making a Makerspace at http://fflib.org/make (And don’t forget that WNYLRC is hosting a Makerspace workshop on December 1st: http://www.wnylrc.org/workshops/73 )
- I never saw a smartwatch in person, but now that I have, I need to own one. A fellow librarian showed me her Samsung Galaxy Gear watch, and I was enthralled as she described the features. It included the ability to view and respond to texts with voice commands, vibrating alerts when your phone rings, and even the ability to answer the phone a la Dick Tracy. You don’t even need to turn the watch “on” as the face lights up when you bring your wrist up to look at the time. Unfortunately I learned that the Galaxy Gear watches only work with Samsung phones, and while I have one now, that may change in a few months. But after doing some research, I discovered the “Android Wear” line of watches, which works with any Android phone running version 4.3 or up. These watches lack the feature of being able to answer phone calls on the watch, but also have some cool features like a heart rate monitor, calendar, and notifications from Google Now. Check them out. at http://www.android.com/wear/ . And watch out for iPhone smartwatches to be released in 2015.
The one salient point that has emerged from our site visits to members is that there’s so much more to our individual member libraries than subject strengths or the mutually beneficial but sometimes too short encounters we have each year with each other. The range and intensity with which each kind of member library serves its members has been eye-opening and gratifying. So, on a beautiful autumn day in October, several of us traveled to our southern territorial reaches to visit with two of our members: Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Library System and the Chautauqua County Historical Society. The day in an area sometimes known for the hardiness of its wintertime inhabitants could not have been a more colorful natural portrait. The weather extremes might be what first comes to mind for the more urban Erie County but we were to learn of the long historical legacy of this area and the national impact its former residents made.
The Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Library System shares building space with the James Prendergast Library in Jamestown. This beautiful building blends old and new while being a cultural hub for the area both art-wise and library-wise. Renovations to James Prendergast will bring whole new areas that residents can utilize to come together as a community and to utilize the resources already there. This library is only one of the 38 member CCLS system covering a wide geographic range and a wide range of needs from the more populated areas to the extremely rural. Needs change along those lines and CCLS strives to serve them in spite of diminishing budgets. Hosts of dedicated librarians and staff across the system do not let budget cuts severely hamper their enthusiasm for service.
We were fortunate to be able to sit down with the headquarters staff and to tell them of the projects that we have in the pipeline while asking them for their input on their needs so they can better serve their member libraries. As always, we addressed workshop topics and they gave us suggestions that we will investigate including the need for more webinars particularly for those staff whose geographic distance makes travel somestimes difficult. We were particularly pleased to have Eli Guinee,
system director, give us a tour of his facility which is a well-oiled machine of behind-the-scenes activity in service to these 38 member libraries. From the area dedicated to print shop equipment for the staff to develop brochures, bookmarks and all manner of paper publicity for their libraries, to the already-filled kits for nursing home distribution to recently-returned summer reading kits for the region’s children it’s clear that this small staff is never without a laundry list of projects ongoing as evidenced that the single IT professional has major projects in flux at 25 of the 38 libraries!
As one of our original members and one of the three public library systems in our region, Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Library System has always been a huge factor in WNYLRC directions and it became even more clear to us that through conversations such as this particular October day produced, the information we trade is exactly what we need in going forward.
Next Week: Chautauqua County Historical Society
From time to time we have discussed here how difficult it’s been to terminate your cyber life and after your physical one is literally over. Previously, Facebook and most online entities would not loosen the reins on personal accounts no matter how close the familial relationship of the requester. Time, however, has a way of changing everything and now, like everything else in life, death is offering great entrepreneurial opportunities. Since nearly 30 million Facebook users have “passed on”, it probably is a great time to get on the ground floor of the cyber account death business. For an interesting take on some possibilities tune in to this CBS Sunday Morning story and make sure you take this much away from it: write down your wishes–earthly possessions and cyber ones.
This message was sent out by the National Library of Medicine and has been circulating but certainly bears repeating for librarians who may be fielding questions and just in case you’re curious about how the schools in Texas are actually handling this situation.
There may be questions about Ebola as concern from parents is heightened across the nation. Please view a resource developed by the Dallas Independent School District that may prove helpful. The CDC Infographic is something that you may wish to print and have displayed (linked below).
Ebola Information and Resources for School Districts
In an effort to keep districts informed so that they may respond to questions from concerned parents about the Ebola virus, we are sharing some resources provided by the Dallas Independent School District. The district hopes that the procedures and steps they took will be of assistance to other school districts should they have the unfortunate experience of having a school impacted by the virus.
- Communications Process
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Parent Letters: English, Spanish, Vietnamese
- ALL Staff Notice
- Recognizing and Reducing Anxiety in Times of Crisis
- 2014 Ebola Resources