Outreach

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One of the projechermionish.outreach.dplts I’ve been working on is cultivating an outreach program at my library. With the Michigan Library Privacy Act (1982 PA 455, MCL 397.601), it’s been a slippery slope. Pursuant to the Act, I cannot utilize any of the library’s patron databases to generate mailing lists; however, I can (and so you) request, via the Freedom of Information Act, the permanent absentee voter rosters of the townships and municipalities residing within my library’s legal and contracted service area.

Further, once I obtain that information, I cannot use my library’s database to custom tailor the list because that would be once again be violating the Act; therefore, each person on the absentee voter roster will receive a letter informing them of the outreach program (and a plethora of other awesome reasons to visit DPL) regardless if they are patrons or not. hermionish.FOIA(It would behoove of me to include a little ditty in these letters explaining as to how I obtained their information, via “FOIA-ing” their township clerk, so that my library is not found culpable of violating the Act, if someone should raise an eyebrow.) Commissioner Faber, who represents District 2 (and is awesome), frequently attends our township board meetings with updates about the happenings in the County and keeps us apprised as to some of the different services being offered — e.g. changes at the recycling center. Knowing this information, I am better able to serve the residents of Watertown Township. With that said, I plan on attending township board meetings in 2015 to briefly talk about the services available to the residents within my library’s service area.

Ideas from Zauel

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On Monday morning, I made my way to White Pine Library Cooperative for a board meeting — unfortunately, we didn’t have enough members present for a quorum, but we talked shop which I thoroughly enjoyed. There’s nothing like being a newbie in a room filled with over 100 years of collective field experience. I felt like a kid in a candy shop — better yet: a nerd girl in a bookstore! Loved the time with my colleagues.

Having a friend who grew up in Saginaw and has now asked a couple of times if I’ve ever visited Zauel Memorial Library, I figured I should probably stop by. Besides…when have I ever based up an opportunity to visit a library and get new ideas? I can add Zauel to the list of Michigan libraries that I’ve toured. (Now that I think of it, I should probably post my list.)

I did my customary pictures of Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. This library is extra awesome because they had FIVE copies.

hermionish.zauel.f451a hermionish.zauel.f451bSomeone on their staff is artsy. Loved this! I should scope out Pinterest and figure out how they made it!

hermionish.zauel.craftyI’m digging these labels on some of their AV materials — I think it could help avoid some of the confusions with patrons: some DVDs check out for free, but they have late fees associated them if they aren’t returned on time. At DPL, the fine is $1.00 per day.

hermionish.zauel.latefee I really digged how Zauel used labels to organize their back issues of periodicals. If there’s a request, pulling the right magazine would be quick and painless.

hermionish.zauel.periodicalsMy library isn’t big enough to devote an area for award books, but if it was…you can bet that I’d have an award book collection! I found some Newbery and Caldecott spines in a drawer and recently asked staff to track down our award winners.

hermionish.zauel.awardbooks1 hermionish.zauel.awardbooks2Both Zauel and Caro Area District Library have parenting collections — it’s something that I would like to do here.

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In the Fuzzy Green

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I’m sitting in a small restaurant eating lunch and reading the book Nest by Esther Ehrlich during my lunch hour.

imageI happened upon a quote which sums up how I’m feeling:

When I flip over, the chlorine burns my eyes, but I like the way everything looks fuzzy and green. I surface – dive down, down, down. With my belly on the bottom of the pool, I’m a beautiful mermaid. I take my hair out of its ponytail and put the elastic on my wrist. I swim around with my long, flowy hair and slithery body. Tiny bubbles float off my skin. The golden hair on my arms wave around. A mermaid never needs to come up for air. She opens her mouth and tasty minnows drift in. She drinks seawater. She swims for as long as she wants, and no one sees her unless she wants them to. No one sees her and no one talks to her and no one touches her and says stupid things. No one even thinks about her. And she doesn’t think about anyone. …I want to stay down here in the fuzzy green, not thinking about anyone…but my lungs ache and my head hurts and I can’t help pulling myself up through the water and gulping air.

I need a road trip. Soon.

Firsts

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The past month has been one of firsts.

As a new director, I recently completed my first Library of Michigan State Aid report. It wasn’t as cumbersome as I anticipated and I even found myself rather enjoying digging into some of the numbers in order to get the percentage of funds contributed by the specific municipalities within my library’s legal and contracted service area. I had several preconceived notions which were challenged and later laid to rest. I’ve had a few conversations with library folks, based on the data, and they too had their ideas challenged. Overall, the process has been very enlightening and I plan on presenting some of the data at the next library board meeting.

hermionish.stateaidThis past week, the library hosted my first adult program since taking the reigns. A dear friend, Melissa Brown-VanSickle, presented an introduction to essential oils which focused on the various health properties and uses of different types of oils. Each person in attendance was given an oil, of their choosing, in a cute little bottle to take home and enjoy.

hermionish.essentialoilsOn Friday, the library participated with other local business in the Deckerville Dickens of a Christmas. We offered two story/craft sessions — one in the morning and the second in the evening. The evening session had excellent attendance! Story of choice was Pete the Cat Saves Christmas by James Dean and Eric Litwin.

The group decorated snowflakes (which I cut out prior to the program — for simplicity) with: crayons, glitter glue, faux bling, and sequins.

hermionish.snowflakehermionish.petethecatIt was three years ago, when I was turning 30, that I decided to tour 30 libraries for my birthday — the 30 Years and 30 Libraries project. One of the libraries in which I toured, Moore Public Library, won a new AWE early literacy station at our library cooperative’s annual meeting. After conferring with their library board, MPL donated their used AWE station to Deckerville Public Library! The new-to-us AWE station is sitting upon a cute little antique desk which was just donated by a member of the library staff — her husband even sandblasted and repainted it.

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Thank you, Moore Public Library!

Earlier this year, I was asked if I’d be interested in revamping the Village of Deckerville’s website. I wanted to get settled into my position before undertaking any projects outside of the library. The project started in November and went live during the last week in November. It’s still a work in progress as I’ll be adding ordinances and permits as well as doing something a bit different for the public notices page, but it’s out there and people seem pleased thus far.

Now I just need to finish my library’s new website…

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Thirteen Reasons Why

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hermionish.thirteenreasonswhyThis week, I finally read Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. I wish I hadn’t waited so long to pick it up. Like The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, the book resonated with me and I found it to be poignant, thought-provoking, and…very necessary.

I’d like to first start by listing the awards associated with this book:
South Carolina Book Award: Young Adult Book Award (2010)
Georgia Peach Honor Book Award (2009)California Book Award
Abraham Lincoln Award
New York Times Best Seller
Starred Kirkus Review

Having attended a high school which earn the nicknamed “Suicide High” – complete with a CNN helicopter hovering over the field during my soccer practice – I became well-informed about suicide as a young adult by way of incessant teacher talks, dramatic assemblies in the field house, an endless barrage of fact sheets and surveys, and even a group called “SOS” which stood for “Save Our Students.”

Working as a Page at Oxford Public Library, I even sported an orange “SOS” t-shirt as I shelved young adult literature in the newly-built library; however, the books I was shelving back then didn’t even come close to today’s contemporary realistic fiction. What was common: stories about the first kiss, winning over the most popular guy, and books about girls working an after school job and saving up for the perfect prom dress while desperately hoping that their crush is a mind-reader and asks them to prom.

Even though I was handling those books several times a week — checking in and shelving — I wasn’t even the slightest bit interested in reading any of them. My lack of interest was not because I thought they were poorly written, but rather because I found myself unable to relate and ended up feeling frustrated and even more ostracized.

I didn’t need escapism, what I needed was reality. I wanted to know that I wasn’t alone. (“It always shocked me when I realized that I wasn’t the only person in the world who thought and felt such strange and awful things.” –John Green)

Trending on Facebook right now is a picture of Judy Blume with a powerful quote about librarians: “Librarians save lives by handing the right book at the right time to a kid in need.” It’s been shared on my timeline twice and sent to my inbox several times. hermionish.judyblumeI’ve already blogged, several times now, about the importance of contemporary realistic fiction for teens. Judy Blume summed it up. I’ll spare you… (…it’s a topic that I can go on and on and on about.)

hermionish.judyblume.freedomThirteen Reasons Why is not a book for everyone, but it could be the right book at the right time for the right kid. Back in the day, if it had published, it might’ve been the right book for some of my classmates. It would’ve helped to put some things into perspective for me.

Quotes which resonated with me:

“Like driving along a bumpy road and losing control of the steering wheel, tossing you — just a tad — off the road. The wheels kick up some dirt, but you’re able to pull it back. Yet no matter how tightly you grip the wheel, no matter how hard you try to drive straight, something keeps jerking you to the side.”

“And after I dropped him off, I took the longest possible route home… I explored alleys and hidden roads I never knew existed. I discovered neighborhoods entirely new to me. And finally… I discovered I was sick of this town and everything in it.”

“You don’t know what goes on in anyone’s life but your own. And when you mess with one part of a person’s life, you’re not messing with just that part. Unfortunately, you can’t be that precise and selective. When you mess with one part of a person’s life, you’re messing with their entire life. Everything. . . affects everything.”

“No one knows for certain how much impact they have on the lives of other people. Oftentimes, we have no clue. Yet we push it just the same.”

 “Sometimes we have thoughts that even we don’t understand. Thoughts that aren’t even true — that aren’t how we feel — but they’re running through our heads anyway because they’re interesting to think about.”

“Just knowing that I’d be going to Monet’s to write poetry made the days more bearable.”

“If you hear a song that makes your cry and you don’t want to cry anymore, you don’t listen to that song anymore. 

But you can’t get away from yourself. You can’t decide not to see yourself anymore. You can’t decide to turn off the noise in your head.”

“You can’t go back to how things were. How you thought they were. All you really have is now.”

“I was breaking. If only I’d talked to you sooner. We could have been…we could’ve…I don’t know. But things had gone too far by then. My mind was set. Not on ending my life. Not yet. It was set on floating through school. On never being close to anyone. That was my plan. I’d graduate, then I’d leave.”

“‘I didn’t know what to make of that night. Everything that happened. I’d liked her for so long from away, but I never had a chance to tell her.’ I look down at the Walkman. ‘We only had one night, and by the end of that night, it seemed like I knew her even less than before. But now I know. I know where her mind was that night. Now I know what she was going through.'”

Story and a Craft: The Very Ugly Bug

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The theme for this year’s summer reading program was “Fizz Boom Read!” — a member of the staff, a retired teacher, selected several “sciency”-themed books and I developed the crafts. (I’ll work at sharing our selections and crafts in a series of blog posts.)

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Book
The Very Ugly Bug by Liz Pichon
Wilton, CT : Tiger Tales, 2005
1 v. (unpaged) : col. ill. ; 27 cm.
ISBN: 9781589250482; OCLC: 56129391

Story Summary
There once was a very ugly bug, with spotted legs, googly eyes and a horrible hairy back. She wonders why her friends have pretty small eyes, shiny green backs, or nice fluttery wings. The ugly bug thought that if she looked like her friends, then she would be more beautiful. So she made herself a disguise. But her new costume made her even tastier looking to the birds! When a bird swoops down to gobble up the disguised ugly bug, something strange happens… The big scare made the very ugly bug even uglier! So ugly in fact, that the bird was scared away. The ugly bug learns that just being herself is the best defense. Liz Pichon’s witty text and colorful artwork highlight this story about self-acceptance.

Craft
Children in attendance made a very ugly (or pretty) bug of their own to take home.

Staff, volunteers, and patrons saved their paper/cardboard egg cartons. I preferred this variety versus styrofoam cartons because paint would and glue would likely adhere better to the surface.

I cut each carton into four 3-segment bugs — think: ants — and painted them with red tempera.

hermionish.bug1Due to the ages of the children we were expecting, I opted to do all of the basic prep work; punching holes in the cartons to run pipe cleaners through the underside to serve as legs — one for each segment of the ant.

I used self-adhering googly eyes for the bugs and attached the antennae using Glue Dots.

mini-glue-dotsWhen selecting decorations for the bugs I opted to go with colored puff balls, colorful buttons, feathers, and a member of the library board donated some faux leaves from an old wreath.

As always, the night before the craft, I divided the decorations into small paper bowls to make it easier for sharing amongst the group. I had several sheets of Glue Dots in a couple of bowls.

I’d say the most challenging part of this craft was getting the kids accustomed to using the Glue Dots — peeling the protective plastic sheet and pressing the dot against their bug. It was difficult for some of the younger kids to do, but thankfully, we had lots of adults on hand to help them along with their projects. Overall, it was WAY less messy than using traditional glue.
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Daughter of Carolingian Minuscule

gothic.text.backgroundBack when I first started library school, I had a recurring dream about rushing into burning archives and trying to save the contents which usually consisted of works written in old German blackletter. Sometimes my efforts were successful and other times…not so much.

More recently, I’ve had dreams about weeding books…
I take a cartload of items to my desk and remove them from the catalog. When I return to the stacks in order to get more books, I find all of the items that I just weeded have been magically returned to the shelves. What gives?

I’d much rather dream about Mr. Darcy, Severus Snape, and Toshikazu Nobu.

Other dream posts I’ve shared:
Riding with Severus Snape
Corporate Archive
Lepo Pozdravljeni
Buddha On My Mind
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Ibuprofen and IcyHot

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rosieIt’s been over a month since my last blog post. Tsk tsk… I’ve been a very busy bee. It’s been a summer with Ibuprofen and IcyHot.

Summer Reading Program wrapped up at the end of July and I must say that it was a HUGE success. My craft choices for the stories turned out wonderfully and we didn’t have any major bumps in the road. Pinterest really helped with the brainstorming process. I am pleased to say that I’m excited for next year and I’ve already started brainstorming ideas and looking at grants to help offset the cost.

(Update: when my library life returns to normal, I’ll write a post about the crafts we did for SRP.)

While the summer reading program was going on, I worked my way through the collection weeding items in preparation for our annual book sale and the carpeting project — why box up and move items which are damaged and in poor condition or not circulating? The weeding project also went extremely well and we were able to sell many of the items in our book sale. Items in which I did not think would sell well (based on previous sales), some science fiction/fantasy and specific classes of non-fiction works, were boxed up and sent off to Better World Books — we’ll get a proceed of the revenue generated from any sales.

I was very disappointed and shocked to see that the majority of the Penworthy books had near ZERO circulation. While their overall quality is high and they’re nearly indestructible thanks to the library binding and hard covers, they are — unfortunately — not visually appealing for the younger audiences. Kids are pretty judgy about the way a book looks. With plain white spines and black lettering, they don’t jump out at you while combing the shelves for an interesting book to check out. At a cost nearly 3x the price of other publishers, it was a bitter, jagged pill to swallow as I weeded many of them from the library’s collection. They might be a good fit in other library’s collections, they are not at Deckerville; therefore, I won’t be adding any more Penworthy books to the collection at this time.

The library’s annual book sale rocked! While weeding, I was cognizant of organizing books and kept them grouped together. I bought some small dowels from Walmart and crafted cute signs little for the different material types which I taped on the boxes. I believe for the first time, the book sale had a collection geared specifically for the home school population. It went over quite well! As a result, I think I’ll continue adding juvenile non-fiction into the home school collection.

As I write this blog post, the library is getting new carpeting. We closed last Saturday afternoon and we’ll remain closed until Tuesday, August 26. The installation should wrap-up sometime this afternoon and the library will be hosting yet another work “party” — the first two focused on boxing and moving the library’s collection and tonight’s gathering will focus on washing down the walls and book cases before they get set-up again. Tomorrow and throughout the weekend, I’ll work with volunteers to begin restoring the library to working order again.

Getting new carpeting in the library has been quite the undertaking. Method: each shelving unit was numbered, a map of the library’s arrangement was drawn, and each box/tote was labeled with the shelf number and a notation about what’s in the box. My biggest worry: the condition of the sub-floor. It’s an old building and the floors creak quite loudly in different areas. The cost of the project would dramatically go up if replacing any of the sub-floor was required. I was relieved to learn that the sub-floor was in great shape and nothing had to be replaced.

I’ve been blessed with an absolutely AWESOME group of volunteers. Last weekend, we even had to turn a few people away because the people was so full of people helping out. This outpouring of support has been the highlight of the project for me. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working alongside of them and sharing their enthusiasm/love for the library.

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A few of Saturday’s Boxing Party attendees

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For the most part, the majority of the project has went smoothly without any major hiccups or surprises — an ignoramus who ripped open the screwed shut drop box despite the sign, and several patrons who refused to follow directions and handed their materials to the contractors (yes, the contractors!) despite being told that all items would be automatically renewed, fines waived, the drop box would be unavailable and to PLEASE hold onto ALL library items until Tuesday, August 26…and there was a cute/informational sign on the library’s door.

The latter really irked me the most because the patrons walked into a library which was obviously CLOSED and nearly shelf-less! (As if the sign on the front door wasn’t enough indication.) The entire collection was in boxes and the carpeting ripped out thus exposing the sub-floor complete with plaster patch drying. The patrons spoke to contractors, not library staff, who were obviously busy working on a project — yet they insisted on interrupting their work, handing over library materials, and that the contractors play “librarian” for them. Even more: the contractors told them about the sign on the door and that they should hold onto their books for safe keeping. Unbelievable.

All in all, those are VERY minor issues for a project of this magnitude.

I have a slew of projects that I can only begin after the new carpeting project — among them:

  • weed the paperback collection
    • re-classify and shelf with the main collection
  • create a non-fiction display area
  • investigate LEGO clubs
  • collaborate with a graphic designer to develop a logo
    • order new library cards — we’re almost out
  • begin planning a fall/winter story hour program
  • design a new library website
  • develop a library newsletter
  • chat with the local museum about hosting a rotating display of Deckerville artifacts and memorabilia
  • continue developing the outreach program and launch
  • implement “favorite item” project with staff and volunteers (more on this later)
  • investigate options for book drops and replace
  • wrap-up the replacement/upgrade of exterior doors

Library Fallacy: “Something is Better Than Nothing”

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hermionish.weedmeLike a garden, in order to make run for new growth, a library needs to be routinely weeded. Weeding or deselection also serves as a time to get rid of materials which are dated — think: non-fiction published 10 years ago — and those which are no longer circulating — think: early Dean Koontz books.

The practice is vitally important to all circulating libraries. It’s important enough that most library schools offer an entire course on collection development which features a unit on deselection of materials and the various best practices. The School of Library and Information Science at Wayne State University offered LIS 7340: Collection Development and Selection of Materials and I must say that it’s one (of several classes) which I utilize on an almost daily basis.

The Online Dictionary for Library and Information Science (ODLIS) by Joan M. Reitz defines ‘deselection':

In serials, the process of identifying subscriptions for cancellation, usually in response to subscription price increases and budgetary constraints. In book and nonprint collections, the process of identifying titles for weeding, usually on the basis of currency, usage, and condition. The opposite of selection.

I believe the practice of deselection to be especially important for the small, rural public library because shelf space is very limited and at a premium. Due to the library’s geographic location, access to materials via Interlibrary Loan (ILL) service can sometimes take several days to even weeks; therefore, it’s imperative that staff keep up and maintain rural library’s collection.

I’d like to break down the fallacy: “Something is Better Than Nothing.”

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I’ve been working at weeding areas within my library’s collection and opted to get rid of our World Book encyclopedia set which was published in 2000 and which were rarely utilized.

Did I commit a “library sin”? Is it better to have something on a subject rather than nothing at all?

Here are a few questions to ask yourself:hermionish.think1

  • Would you have a book on Iraq or Afghanistan which were published in 2001 sitting on the shelves in your non-fiction collection?
  • Would you have the book “Windows for Dummies” (published in 2002) sitting on the shelves?

Your answer should be a definitive and resolute: NO.

In the case of the World Book encyclopedia set: yes, it was expensive when it was initially purchased for the collection; however, it is now FOURTEEN YEARS OLD — well beyond it’s useful shelf life.

Think about how much has changed in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001. A Windows book published in 2002 would’ve likely been focusing on the XP-operating system – which Microsoft is no longer supporting. And the millennium edition of World Book encyclopedia? It would have no mention of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Hurricane Katrina, the Mumbai Attacks, Boston Marathon Bombing, or the death of Ariel Sharon…not mention the strides we’ve made in AIDS research.

Best practice: non-fiction items 10 years or older should generally be weeded from the collection – exception: pieces with historical focus such as books on the World Wars, Jim Crow, women’s suffrage, etc.

When it comes to time-sensitive topics involving medicine, law, and technology, those areas of the collection should be weeded/replaced every couple of years. Dated information on those subjects could be quite misleading and end up being downright dangerous for patrons. Clearly, having just ‘something’ on a subject for the sake of having it is NOT better — it’s foolish.

A memorable quote from librarian, Erin Schmändt – a 2005 SLIS alumna whom has been practicing librarianship for 13 years and the current director of Caro Area District Library:

Weed anything that doesn’t fit your community, no sinning necessary.

hermionish.think2In the case of the Dean Koontz’s early works — some of which are from the late 1970s — ask yourself the following:

  • Are they circulating? When was the last time? Within the last 3 years?
  • Are they available elsewhere and easily accessible? Does your library belong to a cooperative/consortium which partake in shared automation endeavors such as TLN or VLC? Are the books available via ILL — e.g. if you live in Michigan: MeLCat?

Want some more background on deselection/weeding? Check out these resources:

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