Wednesday, February 29, 2012

eReader Training with JZ

The most important thing that I learned during the recent eReader training with JZ is that no one can know it all, even though our patrons may express that expectation. The eReader is like a newborn and we are like new first-time parents. We can take some classes, read a few books and blogs, talk to others in the same situation and go from there. We do the best we can at the time, with the knowledge that we have at that time.

The truth is that this industry is new, unstable and unpredictable. Publishers change rules and new and different devices are born every day. As this trend will probably continue, so will our learning about the e-Reader world and its accompanying issues.

On the positive side, we have been thoroughly introduced to this new world and well armed with tools like our notebooks and flow-charts that will help us get through these confusing yet exciting times. Yes, it is an incredibly awesome time to work in a library!

Thanks JZ!

Donna Orris
Ruth Enlow Library, Oakland

Big Talk From Small Libraries

All conference presentations were recorded and will be made available for your viewing pleasure on this site:
Maryland library staff in Allegany, Garrett and Washington counties can earn 1 CEU per archived presentation viewed so long as you write a blog post about them.

If you're on Twitter you can see tweets about the event at #BTSL.

The Nebraska Library Commission organized and hosted a free, all-day online conference yesterday, Big Talk From Small Libraries. Each of the seven presentations focused on topics familiar to libraries of all shapes and sizes but the presenters brought a small library point of view to each issue. Rather than commenting on each presentation specifically, I'm going to reflect on the one I found most poignant.

It's might not come as a surprise that I found Jessamyn West's presentation the best organized and most interesting; Jessamyn is a veteran librarian, writer, and presenter. Her presentation, Magic Tricks and Maintenance: Helping the Public Learn Technology, didn't blow my mind but she did bring awareness to some habits I am guilty of from time to time like:
  • Don't grab the mouse away from whomever you're helping no matter how much he or she is struggling to maneuver; use reassuring, non-condescending language and tone to help them ease into whatever it is they're trying to accomplish.
  • Translate technical mumbo-jumbo into language everyone can appreciate or leave it out completely (does the individual really need to know that the computer is running OSX? Or that it has an Intel Celeron Processor? What does that even mean?)
  • Avoid the soapboxes - even if a person asks you your preference on which browser or piece of software to use. Sure, tell them your opinion but leave it at that.
  • Avoid expressing your disgust when someone tells you they prefer IE9. Be accepting of what works for each individual and work with it the best you can without expressing bias. Unless they ask for your opinion, it is best not to encourage them to you a superior browser like FireFox.

Monday, February 27, 2012

WMRL Learning Journal Blog

I'd like to start by saying Julie did an excellent job teaching us how to use eReaders!  I felt comfortable with eReaders before the classes but now I feel even better.  I really enjoy using and learning about the latest technology.  I have been exposed to computers from the time I was in elementary school.  I had to take computer classes ALL through school until I graduated from college.  I think growing up around evolving technology helps one to understand and enjoy it. 
When a patron comes in to the library, I jump at the chance to help them with their eReaders!  Thankfully, this training started right after Christmas when a lot of people received eReaders as gifts.  We've had an influx of patrons, with eReaders, needing help.
As far as my "a-ha" moments go, I think learning which eReaders you can download books to without the aid of a computer would be my biggest.  Now, I can help patrons understand what steps they must go through to download a book from the Digital Consortium to their eReader.  Unfortunately, not all eReaders are created equal.  Each device varies to some degree, depending on it's wifi and operating system capabilities.
I'm by no means an expert on these new digital devices but, I enjoy helping and learning with the patrons.  Futhermore, I would like to state that nothing can replace the feel, smell and enjoyment of reading an actual book.  I cherish our "out-dated" mode of reading.  Besides, you can get a real book wet and still be able to read it after it drys out.  Electronic devices do not share the same privilege.  Even though I enjoy our technological advances, I'll always go back to my dusty bookshelf for a good book.

Rachel Elliott
Ruth Enlow Library

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Making Digital a Focus in Collection Development

MLA Webinar - Making Digital a Focus in Collection Development 2-9-12, by Marlene Harris

Marlene discussed the challenges of creating and maintaining a digital collection without the cooperation of the "Big 6" publishers. Her recent information included news of ALA discussions with the Big 6 to open the door for negotiations to remedy the situation. She also mentioned several alternatives to Overdrive with 3M being the biggest competitor. With 3M, you actually purchase the book, not the license.

Some of her e-collection highlights were:
  • Stats are your friends - use them as purchasing guides, as well as patron requests
  • Catalog records are important discovery tools for our e-reading patrons
  • Vendors can assist in e-collection development
  • One of the biggest challenges is having a staff person to keep up with the collection because many useful tools are not in place yet
  • Romance is the current leading genre
  • Erotica is the genre with the highest turnover
  • 15% of budget should be allocated for e-collections
  • Random House is our hero even though they are going to charge us all more!
  • e-reviews can be hard to find, but they are out there
  • Remember to purchase "sets" of e-books
  • Purchasing e-books is a quick and easy way to spend down budgets at the end of the fiscal year
  • If you live on the west coast, find out what time zone your webinar originates in!!!!!!

Marlene ( was a knowledgeable presenter and provided interesting and valuable information about a new industry that is changing by the minute. It's an exciting time!

Donna Orris, LA - Interlibrary Loan & Reference

Ruth Enlow Library - Oakland