Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Scholarship for Continuing Education

Have you thought about how valuable it would be for your career to attend national conferences such as ALA, SLA, ISTE, AASL, or others? Or even a statewide conference, but the money just isn't available? This scholarship will require some advanced planning - the deadline for applications for events between 1/1/09 and 9/30/09 is January 15, 2009 - but your career will
thank you for it.

The Metronet Board has created a scholarship for library staff in the seven-county metro area in honor of Lars Steltzner who passed away this summer. Lars was a true believer in libraries of all types and believed that if one library is strengthened, all are stronger. He was a great supporter
of media specialists and librarians just beginning their careers and was always generous with his time and knowledge. His service on the Metronet Governing Board was greatly appreciated.

The Lars Steltzner Scholarship will be given annually to one staff person from a Metronet member library who is early in her/his career (five years or less). This scholarship of $500 may be used for expenses for a continuing library education event or a national or local library conference. Recipients are eligible to receive the scholarship once in their career. A
plaque listing scholarship recipients will be in the Metronet office.

Click here for a <> pdf with details and application form. If you have questions, please contact the Metronet office at

Remember, the deadline for events 1/1-9/30/09 is January 15, 2009.

Branch Out 2009

Those of you that attended the MLA Conference – thank you. I hope you all had a great time as I did!

Now that the conference if over… I hope you’re making plans to attend the Branch Out Conference in August (4th and 5th)… You’ll be receiving e-mails periodically throughout the next several months as a reminder… Also… as time permits, periodically check the Branch Out Web site as we update conference information. <> Tell you non-SSPiN co-workers about the BranchOut Conference too… attendees, although encouraged to be members of MLA/SSPiN, are not required to be…

Have a great Thanksgiving…

Chris Lang, Office Administrator
Plum Creek Library System

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Job Posting - Walden University Library

Library Technician Position

Walden University, which offers graduate degrees at a distance in education, business, public health and the social and behavioral sciences, as well as bachelor degree completion programs in business administration and information systems, is seeking a detail-oriented person to join our team as Walden University Library Technician. The Walden Library Technician works in the Office of Student Development and reports to the Director of Library Services. This position is located in downtown Minneapolis, MN and will begin as soon as a suitable candidate is found.

Under the leadership and supervision of the Director of Library Services and collaboration with library services staff, the Library Technician will coordinate the library's document delivery service and support the work of the library's teams.

The Library Technician will verify citations, search library databases, verify invoices, cancel and place document requests using ILLiad, reconcile statements, send library bills for processing, interface with students regarding requests, and other responsibilities described in more detail at Applications must be submitted through the web site.

Qualifications for this position include a BA degree and experience in a library or equivalent setting (i.e., library vendor or consortium), M.S. Word, PowerPoint, Access, and Excel proficiency required.

Sue Davidsen
Director of Library Services
Walden University
155 Fifth Avenue South, Suite 100
Minneapolis, MN 55401
612-312-2500 or 800-925-3368, ext. 2500

Thursday, November 20, 2008

LibraryThing: Social Cataloging and Social Networking

Tim Spalding, the creater of LibraryThing, was the luncheon keynote speaker at the Minnesota Library Association conference yesterday. He definitely made some provocative comments, and raised some excellent points, many of which I agree with. Bloggers at SELCO and Kasson Public Library again have summarized his presentation. A few things he said and some commentary, noting that these are huge paraphrases and not verbatim:
  • Be afraid of OCLC
    Okay, this is a little "inside baseball" talk... I am further convinced that OCLC is evil and ultimately does not have our best interests in mind. They have grown too big for their britches, and the organization that was originally created by libraries to help libraries do what they need to do is now dictating to libraries how to do what they need to do. Their lastest announcement about essentially claiming copyright to the intellectual property in bibliographic records is the last straw, and while they're backpeddling as fast as they can, I say we need to stage a coup and retake our organization. Barring that, we need to take our toys (and intellectual property) and stop giving it to them in what has turned out to be a "work for hire" arrangement.

  • Choose "bandwagons" strategically
    Specifically, Spalding suggested libraries should quit spending time creating Facebook and MySpace pages and hosting gaming events in libraries, just because they are the Latest Things and are Things Young People Do. Just because young people do them doesn't mean the library should too. He actually said something quite funny, but I won't remember enough of it... It was something to the effect of starting a MySpace page for the library and ending up with two teen social misfit friends, a bunch of pedophiles, and the last update being 6 months ago... Okay, he didn't say the 'bunch of pedophiles' part, but one can see it coming. Remember, I went to the library security preconference earlier, where a fair amount of conversation was around using library computers for exchange of child porn. My take: when you're hangin' with your "friends," are you really going to "friend" the library?

  • Use Web 2.0 where it makes sense
    There are certainly places where web 2.0 makes sense, but Spalding suggests that libraries didn't even really get web 1.0 right; why even bother with web 2.0? Okay, I don't go THAT far, but he has a point. We ARE way behind Amazon and Google and... Well, the list goes on... as far as dumping information goes and ease of use and getting "good enough" information. Where we have a strategic advantage is that we know how people USE information, and can get at better information, and of course there's the old what's free and what you have to pay for issue.

  • Tagging can help us catalog
    I agree that individually, tags have a limited use beyond the personal. Your tags aren't going to mean too much to me, and my tags won't mean too much to you. If I tag my picture of a menorah on Flickr with
    Judaica, that has some meaning to someone else, but wedding gift? Eh, not so much. So, tags in individual iterations are not particularly meaningful. But, in the aggregate? Much moreso. Using LibraryThing for example (of course), he pointed out the use of the tag, chick lit, which incidently is now a Library of Congress official genre heading. Some 86,000+ items tagged cooking, but only 5,800+ tagged cookery. I had a flashback to Sandy Berman and the Good Old Days of Hennepin County Subject Headings - a man ahead of his time. Give the public their own language. And, FWIW, there are real humans who "vet" the tags and do some co-location (i.e. create see references)
A couple of cool LibraryThing Things:

I See Dead People's Books This is a group for those interested and involved in entering the personal libraries of famous readers into LibraryThing as Legacy Libraries. Explore the personal libraries of Thomas Jefferson, Willa Cather, and Tupac Shakur among others.

Open Shelves Classification A project to build a new Dewey-like classification system that would be in the public domain (unlike DDC).

Library Security: Everyone's Resposibility

In our library, we're currently reviewing our disaster plan. Library security is a component of disaster planning, so with that in mind, I signed up for this preconference session led by Jeremy Johnson, Hennepin County Library security officer and computer forensics specialist, and Ben Trapskin, HCL senior librarian. Others have already blogged on this session, such as the posts from SELCO, and Kasson Public Library, and those posts provide a nice overview of the session. But, some takeaways that I noted for our library are:
  • Establish a procedure for handing criminal computer use
    While we're an academic institution with different issues in some cases than a public library, we still get our fair share of community users and certainly there may at some point be some student activity that is problemmatic. We would do ourselves a favor by having a process to follow than being reactive after the fact.

  • Design the library spaces with security in mind
    Much of that was done when this building was opened about 7 years ago, but we can continue to think that way. For example, we purposefully are adding additional computer stations in a cluster, to encourage self and peer-policing, but separated from the existing computer stations, to avoid "over-concentration" of people.

  • Secure our staff areas
    We started leaving the doors into our staff areas, such as access to the area behind our circulation desk, unlocked because of all the in and out with carts, etc. Our library faculty offices are in this secure area, and it is not uncommon to have students walk back into this secure area unannounced to visit a faculty member. However, with recent thefts of items from offices on campus, and thinking of what was addressed in this session, we may want to rethink that strategy.

  • Develop emergency closing procedures
    We've had two recent bomb threats on our campus which have necessitated building evacuations. In the most recent one, there was some confusion over a misplaced library check-out laptop computer. Making sure we have emergency closing procedures in place possibly could have addressed this problem.

  • Use programming to improve the library environment and security
    A couple of weeks ago, our library staff had Becky Nordin and Lisa Mohr from our campus Judicial Affairs office talk at a staff meeting about working with students to communicate expectations for library behavior. We talked about making a video to demonstrate okay and not okay behavior, and having an open house and other events to give us opportunities to get campus students "on our side."

  • Create a student advisory group
    Again, thinking along the lines in the above note, how can we get more students to be "on our side" with enforcing and modeling desirable library behavior, like not bringing food in and not talking on cell phones, etc. Maybe we want to work with a focus group of students to talk about our services and environment, and how we can compromise on some of these issues. We may want that group to be an advisory group, or just meet for a fixed period.

  • Create our own HCL "Welcome to the Library" signage
    HCL has signage that has a "friendly" or "yes" side: be respectful, use a quiet voice, etc.; and a "stern" or "no" side: no illegal computer use, no violence, etc. Maybe we want something like that posted at our entrance.
Ben and Jeremy had participants break into small groups and use a couple of "How Do You Manage" columns from Library Journal to discuss choices and security issues. I was in a group that used The Lesser of Evils. Other groups used Insecurity. I wish I had been in the group that discussed Insecurity, as that related to an academic institution, but it was interesting hearing the public library folks in my group talk about our situation.

For additional information and discussion, Ben Trapskin created a website/blog for library security called, uniquely enough, "Library Security" ( I'll definitely be using that in my Intro to Tech Services course when we talk about disaster planning.

Blogging MLA...

I couldn't blog live yesterday from the Minnesota Library Association conference because there wasn't a public internet connection at the hotel and the conference didn't pay for attendee access. So, I'm going to post today on the sessions I attended.