On getting inspired again.

This past Friday and Saturday I took a Career Exploration workshop through my University. I really delved into the type of librarian I want to be and what I want to do at my job on a daily basis. Below is a picture of a poster I made during the workshop.

Career Cluster

Taking this workshop made me want to start blogging again about this profession that I am so passionate about. Look forward to more posts coming soon!

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Hello again! I’m back with a post on my favorite BookTubers, people that review books on YouTube. Coming up soon is a post on how Libraries are using YouTube.

In no particular order, here they are:

Get Bookish is the book reviewing duo of Les and Becks.

Les’s Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/5864197-les

Beck’s Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/5855594-rebecca

Words of a Reader is lesley from Australia. Here’s her video on a Classics Starter Kit.

Her Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/2634051-lesley

Books and Quills is Sanne, originally form the Netherlands and now living in London.

Her Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/2110769-sanne

Do you watch BookTubers? Who do you watch?

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Interview with Ruth Harries

Follow Ruth on Twitter @RuthHarries

1. What library program are you in? What is your favorite thing and least favorite thing about it?

I’m enrolled at the School of Library and Information Management at Emporia State University. My favorite thing about it is that it’s a blended format – I do most of my coursework online from home, and I drive to Emporia for face-to-face course meetings about once a month. Since I’m not taking classes in a traditional format, I get to work full-time, and I didn’t have to move away from my family. My least favorite thing about the program is also that it’s a blended format. It was important to me to be able to continue to work and to live near my family, but being enrolled in a program that’s mostly online means that I’m not getting the traditional student experience, and I sometimes feel less connected with my classmates than I would in a traditional face-to-face program.

 2. What are the benefits and drawbacks to working while in library school?

One of the major benefits of working while I’m in library school is that I’m getting hands-on experience. Right now I’m a supervisor for a university library’s circulation department (full disclosure: the LIS Queen is one of my supervisees, so I was flattered when she asked me for an interview), and the time I’ve spent at work has taught me some valuable lessons. None of the classes I’ve taken have taught me how to deal with a patron who’s so angry he’s cursing at me, nor have they taught me how rewarding it is to connect a frustrated patron with the materials she’s been trying to find; I learned both of those things at work. From a more practical standpoint, working while I’m in school means that I have peace of mind about my financial situation, since I know that I’ll have a job when I graduate, even if I’m not able to find work as a librarian right away.

The major drawback is that I have less time for everything else, and sometimes I get stressed out just trying to find the time to do things that aren’t related to work or school. I was going to school part-time during my first year, but I’ve gone to a full-time course load this academic year so that I can (hopefully) graduate in May. This means that I have less time to spend with the people I care about, and it also means that I don’t always get as much sleep as I should.

Working full-time while going to library school isn’t for everyone, but since it’s a professional degree, I do think it’s important for library students to do some kind of library work (internships, graduate assistantships, part-time library jobs, or even volunteering) before they graduate.

 3. Who is your mentor or librarian icon?

I don’t exactly have a mentor right now (I ask different colleagues, librarians, and professors for advice depending on the situation), but I have two librarian heroes: Nancy Pearl and children’s librarian at the branch I went to while I was growing up.

When I started library school, I was very gung-ho about reference and reader’s advisory. Ms. Pearl has some of the best advice I’ve heard about good reader’s advisory, which is to read outside your comfort zone, and not to take it personally if a patron ends up not liking a book you recommended. I’ve been more interested in metadata and cataloging of late, but I still very much admire Ms. Pearl and her efforts to connect readers with books they’ll love. (Also, I have her action figure on my desk.)

My other hero, the children’s librarian at the library branch near my parents’ house, is enthusiastic and dedicated; her branch consistently has the largest summer reading program of any of the town’s branches, in large part because she reaches out to the local community. She clearly loves her job, and I think a lot of that has to do with how she’s made it her own. She is the kind of librarian I want to be.

 4. What is your favorite resource as a library student?

This varies from semester to semester, depending on the courses I’m taking, but one of my perennial favorites is the Annoyed Librarian’s blog. One of the things I value about our profession is that, in general, we’re optimists. However, I think that sometimes this optimism can whitewash some real concerns about libraries and librarianship, so I think the Annoyed Librarian’s perspective is important. Her blog is clearly snarky and sarcastic, so it should be taken with a grain of salt, but she says the things that no one else is willing to say.

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Does Your Library Have One of These?

There are many libraries doing great work with their local businesspeople. For example, The Carson City Library has a Business Resource Innovation Center (BRIC) devoted to helping local businesses succeed. Check it out here.

If I were in charge (ha!) I would take it a step further and coordinate my employment resources with my local business resources and bring these two areas together into a Business and Employment Resource Center. This could be a small section of a small library where a few computers and bookshelves are available. In huge metropolitan library, it could be an entire wing of the library.

In tough economic times libraries aid in these areas are most needed. Besides, it doesn’t hurt to build community ties with local businesspeople who may decide to become a benefactor to your library. But perhaps the most important reason for having a designated space to Business and Employment is to connect people with potential employers. Resume Writing help, Online Job Application navigation, putting together a Mock Interview session/class, all these things libraries can offer, could be put under the umbrella of a Business and Employment Resource Center.

Carson City Business Library

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The Smartest Card in your Wallet

According to ALA’s website, National Library Card Signup Month was “launched in 1987 to meet the challenge of then Secretary of Education William J. Bennett who said:   “Let’s have a national campaign…every child should obtain a library card – and use it.”

5 Ways to Use your Library Card inspired by ALA’s Slideshow – 60 Ways to Use your Library Card

1. Find a lover at the library.

2.  Find Assistance with Job Hunting

3. Attend a library event, like Game Night or a class on Microsoft Office Excel

4. Plan for an amazing vacation using your libraries travel resources

5. Learn more about any subject; the Topeka and Shawnee County Library has bags of books on one topic that you can grab and go, like their “Health in a Bag” initiative.

Tell me, what is your library doing to promote Library Card Sign-up Month? What advocacy campaigns for libraries do you think are most successful?

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Public vs. School vs. Academic Libraries

I recently had the opportunity to shadow a public librarian, an elementary school librarian and an academic librarian. I shadowed each for a day and was able to glimpse what their job was like and see the differences between each of the jobs. On the first day I shadowed a public library director and it was not a business-as-usual day. First up on the agenda was a city council meeting to get funds approved for a survey that would plan out a new library. I enjoyed my first trip to city hall, watching the proceedings and presentations. Because the right political prepwork had been done, the funds were approved! Following the victory we returned to the library for a Board of Directors meeting. New fees were debated and a new awareness program “Geek the Library” was discussed. Next I followed the director around the library as she was interviewed by a local  news station. I was also able to talk to the Programming Director who coordinates events between several branches and investigates leads on possible new events or presenters. Overall, it was a full-packed day that allowed me to see many aspects of a public library director’s job.

The next day I was shadowing the librarian for an elementary school.

My first impression of the school was…AMAZING! The building is new and the school has an environmental focus. There were recycle bins everywhere and even a giant mural about saving the manatees.  My first duty of the day was to help  with some shelving which meant looking over some of my favorite children’s books. The librarian told me she labels her “easy” books as “everybody” books that way older kids don’t feel bad checking them out. I think this is a great idea, no one should ever feel bad for reading beneath their reading level, whether you’re a kid or an adult.

Throughout the day I watched as the librarian read to kids and told them about summer reading programs.

The following day I shadowed an academic reference librarian. He showed me how he chooses books for the collection in his area of social science, mainly how to interpret the credentials of authors and publishers. He also told me about his research project that he is currently trying to get published. Working with students one-on-one as well as in classrooms as an “embedded” librarian is also a large part of his job.

I came to distinguish these areas of specialization by the auxiliary skills needed to perform them. As a public librarian you are also a public figure who advocates for your library. As a school librarian you are also a teacher. As an academic librarian you have many of the same duties as a professor, you must publish and work with students.

The area that most appeals to me is the public library sphere. I love that at a public library you work with all age groups and can create programs. I love the aspect of advocacy most of all. The three days of shadowing showed me where I fit best and gave me a broader understanding of librarianship.

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Read this book! “Bite-Sized Marketing: realistic solutions for the overworked librarian”

If you’ve ever had to promote anything, you know how hard it can be to get people’s attention and get them to take action. This book shows you how to successfully engage your patrons, the press, and corporate sponsors. The book starts out by talking about WOMM or Word of Mouth Marketing, the idea that the best kind of marketing is spread person to person and that 10% of the population in your community influences the other 90%. People identify with an organization if they can connect to their personal values. That’s where Storytelling comes in. Don’t promote your library with facts and statistics alone, use authentic stories about how a patron’s life was positively impacted by the library. Create and maintain a Story Bank.

The book encourages engagement with your community. Start with a small group, a whiteboard, and some markers. The next challenge: tackling the press. The authors lay out exactly how to build a relationship with the press, how to write and send a press release, and create PSAs for local radio stations. The authors suggest that “any news that includes accomplishments of individual staff members should be sent to their hometown newspapers as well as their college alumni newsletters.”

The book also details how to maintain an online presence especially in the social media sphere. Libraries are now utilizing not only websites and blogs but Flickr, Youtube, Twitter and Podcasts. The book also includes sections on how to work with a designer and how to create a cohesive brand for your library. This is a must read for any library enthusiast. I give it 5 out of 5 stars.

One of the authors, Nancy Dowd, is also the author of two blogs: The M Word and The Best of Library Videos.

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Kansas Library Association Conference 2012

Glasses. Check. Cardigan. Check. Name tag. Check. I was ready for the Kansas Library Association (KLA) Conference. The Conference took place at the Hyatt Hotel in Wichita, Kansas from Wednesday, April 11th to Friday, April 13th. The Conference takes place annually and is a nexus of knowledge sharing, and idea brainstorming.


My first day of the Conference, I was able to view Emporia State University library students projects. I also attended my first session titled “Bartending at the Circ Desk”. The session was lead by Lee Dobratz, director of the Council Grove Library and former Bartender. What I learned: Greet your patrons within 30 seconds of their arrival (obviously more applicable to smaller libraries). Talk up your specials- i.e. your displays, new books, new services. Offer to give new patrons a tour of your “menu”-i.e. your stacks and services. Show off what you know, suggest books, promote book clubs and give “insider” information such as new books in. Check back with patrons. Read people, look for eye contact, if they don’t meet your eyes maybe you’re not giving off an air of approach-ability. When dealing with angry patrons revert to your policies, rules, and supervisors. Say “I’m sorry, let’s investigate.” Drop your voice and use your “Mom” voice to sooth them. The biggest thing I took away from the session was “Never say No”. If you can’t help a patron, refer them to somebody who can or say “no” in a different way like “I’m sorry I’m not able to help you today.”  Also, personal relationships are big. Introduce your customers to your colleagues. She ended the session by reminding us all “Where would we be without our patrons?”

FridayFriday the session I attended was “DIY PR: Ten Easy ways to Promote and Market Your Library” lead by Susan Brown, Marketing Director at Lawrence Public Library. The knowledge I gained from this session was INVALUABLE. So, I’ll just jump straight into the 10 tips she gave.#10 Write a Good Press Release

One Page. 3 Paragraphs. Include your logo. Write it as a story printable as is. Include a quote. Send it in the email and attached to the email as a Word and PDF file.#9 Make Friends with the MediaSusan started her job as marketing director by offering to buy coffee for all the media people she would need to intereact with, she could then glean from them how they like to receive their information. She learned from them also, to only send that well-written press release to the one person who wants it, not to the entire newsroom. She gave them all her cell phone number too.#8 Leverage Free Resources

Use online community calendars, put your art events in the Art Center calender, put your buisness/job related events in the Chamber of Commerce Calender.

USE YOUR EMAIL SIG FILE. This idea was totally new to me (I don’t even have a signature on my emails). She recommended putting upcoming events at the library in your sig file or what your currently reading.Update patrons through a e-newletter and send personal emails to art center staff say for an art event.#7 Tell a Great StoryDon’t get hooked on your stats. Talk about your people.

#6 Collect Great Stories

Collect patron stories anyway you can and use Snapshot Day to it’s full potential. Snapshot Day is an annual event where librarians collect stats and photos and stories from their patrons.
#5 Repurpose Content

Use those collected photos and stories over and over again in different ways when promoting your library.

#4 Be Social (with Social Media)

Don’t just blast event updates, engage people in conversations. Read the book “Trust Agents”, the author says to promote someone else on social media 10 times for every time you promote yourself.

#3 Get out of the Library

Get a table at festivals, host programs outside the library. Create a Pop-Up Library at community events.

#2 Promote within First

Tell your staff, trustees or foundation members what’s going on at the library.

#1 Build Relationships

Susan Brown’s blog is http://658point8.com/ and her twitter is 658point8

Final Takeaways

The Conference really reaffirmed to me that I want to be a librarian. I love working at the circulation desk and would love to do marketing for a library in the future. The sessions I attended will help me be better at my job and perhaps reach new goals. I also met two great people, Lee Dobratz and Susan Brown, who may provide *crosses fingers* interviews for this blog. I would love to go visit their libraries an shadow them for a day, too.

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This blog is now one month old! Thank you for reading and subscribing. Here is a peek at what’s to come; a new logo for the blog coming at the end of the April, more interviews, notes from the Kansas Library Association Conference and more. What would YOU like to see in future posts?

From Jessica Diamond's Flickr under Creative Commons

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A Note about Tech Programming

Many Public Libraries already offer excellent technology-related programming. I wonder though, in a world with unlimited resources for public libraries, could they offer even more tech programming that is tailored to fit the needs of each and every age group? Could they offer programming that would engage kids, teens, 25-45 year olds, Baby Boomers and seniors?

Kids– These classes could be even more beneficial if a parent, grandparent, or guardian were able to come. Classes could include “Components of a Computer”, “What is the Internet?” and “Educational Online Tools for Kids”.

Teens/Young Adults– Classes like “Starting a Blog” and Workshops on “New Games and Gaming Devices”. Hosting LAN Parties, which some public libraries already do.

25-45 year olds– Engage this generation with classes like “Creating your own Website” and “Building an App”. Don’t forget many of these 25-45 year olds will be parents and they could participate in children’s tech programming with their kids or learn a new skill while their kids are learning new skills in a another room of the library.

Baby Boomers– Classes that teach Social Media skills

Seniors– Basic Computer Skills, such as working with email, Microsoft Office Programs, and also Social Media Basics.

A final note about Computer Security- I think there should be classes or workshops for every age group on how to be safe and protect your privacy on the Internet.

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