Wednesday, December 31, 2014

How to Subscribe to MLA Listserv and Why!

The Maryland Library Association is the statewide professional support group for all academic, public, school, and special libraries and they share a lot of timely, relevant, and interesting information through the Listserv. 

For example, the State Library Resource Center (SLRC) recently shared their Senior Mental Health Resources guide on the Listserv:
We also share job openings, staff development workshops, and humor! 

To subscribe to the listserv, just send an email! 

For more information on how to post to the listserv and how to unsubscribe, visit: 

Monday, December 29, 2014

SRC Summit

Author Name: Marcella Whitmore
Library System: Washington County Free Library

Top 3 things learned:

1. Digital storytelling presentation gave me valuable information on how to
make custom instructional videos that I can incorporate in my library
programming at little or no cost.

2. Science of the Superhero presentation provided an overview on drawing the
human figure/superhero; it gave some nice tips showing how the perspective
(e.g. bird's eye view vs. worm's eye view) determines how figure should be

3. SRC Share-o-Rama was the most informative part of the day; it was
interesting and useful to see what the other counties did for SRC. I learned
how some new creative/innovative programming ideas that were also free or

How to implement
I really liked the Digital Storytelling portion of the SRC Summit. I think it would be great to use it with SRC next year. It could be used several ways. First, I think I'd like to make some sort of short clip to promote SRC using Sneaks as a super hero. Also, I think it could be an actual library program for children to make some short videos - maybe even some kind of contest.

Additional learning: 
The graphic novel presentation was also very good. It's not an area of the collection that I'm very familiar with so I will definitely be looking at some of the recommended titles.

Kids are customers, too!

Author Name: Donna Croft
Library System: Washington County Free Library

Top 3 things learned:

**"Making Makers" is a hands-on learning, exploring, and creating activity.
Children can feel good about themselves since there is no right or wrong. It
encourages and inspires.

**An excellent way to support schools to reinforce learning strategies to
help students locate and verify reliable resources for informational needs.

*Fiction, Non-Fiction, History, Fantasy and anything in-between -- Such an
eye-opening array of titles Captain Blue Hen Comics has to offer.

How to implement:

**Organize a Score Challenge night like we offer our Minecraft programs for
children since we can request the additional computers for this purpose.

**Host a "Maker" night for parents and children to encourage creativity in
STEM or the arts. Post a challenge and provide components individual can use
to produce their original creations.

**There is such a variety of Graphic Novels. A book club highlighting
different types and subjects would interest young patrons to explore this
popular genre.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

School Readiness Training

Library System: Washington County Free Library

Top 3 things learned:
1. Maryland has great improvements this year towards early childhood
development and learning as the government just approved a grant.

2. Executive functions are a key factor in early childhood development.

3. Parents need to be aware that they can babble to their children and NEED
to talk to their children at a young age.

How to implement
Can use this in story times. It's important to understand how a child develops in order to give an excellent learning experience during any age for story times and programming.

Summer Reading Club Summit

Author Name: Renee Mason
Library System: Allegany County Library Systems

Top 3 things learned:
1. About the Shadow Puppet Edu app
2. List of Some Great Graphic Novels for kids
3. Two book suggestions: How To Draw Comics The Marvel Way by Stan Lee and I'd Love to Draw by Andrew Loomis.

How to implement:
1. Use the Shadow Puppet Edu app to make a SRC compilation to showcase at the end of the summer. Could also do this for 2014 season to advertise for the 2015 season. (Turn video into marketing material for the next year's SRC). Check to see if the video can be played on the local Board of Education TV channel.

2. Read some of the graphic novels to have some readers advisory suggestions for teens.

3. See if we can order the two book suggestions: How To Draw Comics The Marvel Way by Stan Lee and I'd Love to Draw by Andrew Loomis.

Summer Reading Club Summit

Author Name: Donna Croft
Library System: Washington County Free Library

Top 3 things learned:
*A great way to recruit performers, programs and other summer reading workshop/classes for this year's Summer Reading Program 2015. We need to canvas our communities to see what wonderful talent and performers are waiting to be showcased. 

*Digital Media is a wonderful way to add variety to storytimes. It also presents a great venue for children to participate in storytelling.

*Drawing a superhero isn't such a daunting task. Artist Jerry DeCaire was inspiring and encouraged that we too can draw a superhero.

How to implement:
*Each Branch could submit their prospective community performers, etc. to the SCP committee. The committee could gather all the information and hold tryouts and line up performers for the summer, thus saving us a great deal of money.

*Download the app for free and presto you have a tool to spice up storytime hour.

*A superhero party including drawing superheros, dress up with capes and props, games, and some foods a superhero might eat. This is perfect for our theme for the elementary age crowd.

Additional learning:
We are at times challenged when trying to decorate our branches in tune with the theme.
Possibly this could be a discussion topic to learn from others.

Summer Reading Club Summit

Author Name: Diane Kisner
Library System: Ruth Enlow Library of Garrett County

Top 3 things learned:
The information on digital media for SRC that Rachael Stein and Sam Eddington presented was helpful. The App, Shadow Puppet Edu, which is free and designed for kids, offers students an easy way to make videos for storytelling. My hope is to learn more about this App, and apply it to some of my programming.

I was inspired by Marvel Comic Illustrator, Jerry DeCaire. It was very interesting to watch him sketch and share his Marvel-ous talents. What a treat! I hope to use some of the techniques he showed us for my school age students.

Tess Goldwasser presented us with a wide variety of great graphic novels to preview. A list for kids, teens and adults was also handed out.

I found the Share-O-Rama Panel to be most informative. It was made up of a rep from each county and they shared their system's SRC planning process. It was good to hear how presenters are found, where funding comes from, and to learn new ways to gather resources for our SRC programs.

How to implement:
I would like to use some of the follow-up ideas that we brainstormed from Sam & Rachael's presentation. I really liked the idea of making a short video of our local community heroes.

Summer Reading Club Summit

Author Name: Bonnie Winters
Library System: Ruth Enlow Library of Garrett County

Top 3 things learned:
1. I enjoyed the demonstration and discussion of the digital storytelling app - Shadow Puppet edu - and all the ideas for how we can use the app. That was quite helpful.

2. And the sharing of ideas about how each county conducts SRC was very useful. I learned that there are a number of ways to arrange SRC events.

3. The presentation about drawing super heroes provided insight into how that is done.

How to implement: Since I do the PR for Ruth Enlow Library, I am thinking of ways to use the Shadow Puppet edu app to promote and/or recap our SRC events this year.

Summer Reading Club Summit

Author Name: Adryana Billotti
Library System: Washington County Free Library

Top 3 things learned:
1. Different types of graphic novels and reading advisory for graphic novels for kids, that will be useful during the 2015 Summer Reading Club 
2. Learned about an app that allows pictures to be taken or used and be made into a narrated movie, will be a really fantastic and cool tool to use throughout the 2015 Summer Reading Club and can be a great addition to everyday story times at the library
3. Learned about the ways other counties of Western Maryland are doing their Summer Reading Club and gleaned ideas to potentially incorporate into Washington County's Summer Reading Club

How to implement:
Create narrated, more participatory story times using the app that was presented. New ways of marketing and asking for program participants for Summer Reading Club, includes newspaper advertisements and radio ads. Photo booth of props for SRC participants to dress up in and take pictures of to created a narrated slideshow/movie of the 2015 SRC program for Washington
County Free Library

Additional learning: More graphic novel advisory related specifically to age ranges and reading levels in order to be able to provide the best graphic novel reading advisory to children and teens.

Summer Reading Club Summit

Author Name: Tammy Gantz
Library System: Washington County Free Library

Top 3 things learned:
1. How to use Shadow Puppet Edu to create digital stories, make instructional videos, illustrate a nursery rhyme or song, share about library programs and extend a story program.
2. At the Graphic Novels presentation I learned the importance of graphic novels. Some of the advantages are that they are beneficial to kids with special needs, motivate reluctant readers, fosters creative reading skills and more.
3. At the Science of the Super Hero presentation I learned that when perspective changes, proportion changes. I also learned that Jerry DeCaire is a very talented artist.

How to implement:
When I returned from the SRC Summit I shared the Shadow Puppet Edu app with my one of my children's staff, Laura Gross and she was very excited. She recreated the book Brown Bear, Brown Bear with the ap and used artwork from the Metropolitan Museum of art as the pages of the book. It took her about an hour to select all the artwork and add the text. Her creation turned out wonderful. She is going to use this in a special iPad storytime we are hosting in January. This program is very simple to use and I can see it being used in the future. As for the Graphic Novels presentation, it is always wonderful to have new books that one can recommend to patrons. The list was very helpful. Jerry DeCaire also gave us a few titles that we can recommend to budding comic artists.

Additional learning: Additional classes and aps for iPad storytimes and uses in the library are always helpful.

Summer Reading Club Summit

Author Name: Stacy Lyn Winters
Library System: Allegany County Library Systems

Top 3 things learned:
  1. Learned how to use Shadow puppet.
  2. Learned about different graphic novels to place in our collection.
  3. Learned how much time and effort goes into creating graphic novels.
How to implement:
I could use shadow puppets during my story time. I got alot of ideas for which graphic novels I would like to place in our collection.

Summer Reading Club Summit

Author Name: Kate Livengood
Library System: Allegany County Library Systems

Top 3 things learned:
  1. How to use Shadow Puppet to create narrated slideshows/videos.
  2. Collected some new ideas for graphic novels to order.
  3. Learned some of the techniques used in drawing the human figure in comics.
How to implement: Shadow puppet could be used to retell stories, create new stories, or to make educational clips.

Summer Reading Club Summit

Author Name: Janlee Viands
Library System: Washington County Free Library

Top 3 things learned:
I left before the panel started to share what was working and not working for their counties.
I did enjoy the speakers I think the summit is beneficial and I hope it continues. I'm glad the WCFL SRC Committee was able to attend.

Additional Learning: I would be interested in having Tess Goldwasser come to a branch staff meeting sometime in the future.

Summer Reading Club Summit

Author Name: Julie Iden
Library System: Ruth Enlow Library of Garrett County

Top 3 things learned:
How to Draw a Superhero
How to create a digital story using Shadow Puppet Edu
How other counties handle SRC

How to implement: I would like to try advertising for talent for our SRC programs. I was impressed by the response that Allegany County received.

Summer Reading Club Summit

Author Name: Jeff Ridgeway
Library System: Washington County Free Library

Top 3 things learned:
1. Sam Eddington is unique. I enjoyed learning about the Story Time App and may use it in the future, but probably not in the way that he used it.

2. I learned that I could probably have been an illustrator for Marvel had I continued to pursue my Art career, but at this point I don't think that's in the cards as I don't want to memorize all of the primary muscles in the human body.

3. I think that Allegany Co. presented two or three common sense ideas that we will probably look at adopting or at least consider for next year's reading club, but I also find that we are doing a pretty good job of presenting a high quality program ourselves.

How to implement:
I could see doing a "Wednesdays with Us" type of program where we standardized some program times in all outlets. I can see us putting out a "call for performers" for the Summer Reading Club, with a set expense account for those performers. I would like to see the WCPS schools do a complete buy in of our program to the extent that everyone enrolled in the system would be enrolled in our club (we would then have over 20,000 enrollees if that happened). I am looking at doing a story time with an IPad and can create story stretchers such as nursery rhymes using the app shown to us. 

Additional learning: I think that we could have used a little more in-depth discussion regarding the SRC. The panel scratched the surface, but I think that having us get together with the individual librarians in each system is beneficial.

Summer Reading Club Summit

Author Name: Sarah McGuire
Library System: Allegany County Library Systems

Top 3 things learned:
1. Popular Graphic Novels
2. Drawing superheros!
3. Shadow puppet ans 30 hands app

How to implement: What to look for in a graphic novel, this is not one of my strong points.

Summer Reading Club Summit

Author Name: Abigail Andrews
Library System: Washington County Free Library

Top 3 things learned: I learned how Garrett and Allegany Counties conduct their Summer Reading Clubs, about the Shadow Puppet Edu and 30 Hands apps, and learned about the process behind comic book art. I was very impressed by Allegany County's Sponsorship Packet and Wednesdays with Us programs.

How to implement: Hopefully we will be able to adapt the sponsorship packet to meet our needs in Washington County. While it is nice to have the same program on different days so that a wider variety of people can attend, maybe we can also add in programming at a consistent time county-wide.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Tri-County Summit 2015 FYI: The Team, the Theme, and the Location

The Team:

Representing Allegany County: Carl Emerick & Kate Livengood
Representing Garrett County: Ann Leighton & Crystal Adkins
Representing Washington County: Beau Bradley & Will Carroll
Representing WMRL: Tracy Carroll & Elizabeth Hulett
Facilitator: Julie Zamostny

Why do we do the Tri-County Summit?

Before 2006, each of the library systems did their own staff day every year and at some point, the suggestion was made to have the three counties work together every other year to plan a shared staff day. Thus was born the first Tri-County Summit in 2006. The second Summit was held in 2009 and in 2010, the WMRL Advisory Board wrote the Summit into our core services and so we are committed to collaboratively planning a shared staff day every other year. The summit allows us to pool our resources, our talented staff, ideas, and energy for the purposes of lifelong learning, connecting/networking with each other, fostering community, and identifying areas for new collaborations. 

When is Tri-County Summit 2015?  
Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2015

Where is Tri-County Summit 2015? 
At the Fletcher Branch of the Washington County Free Library

The Theme for Summit 2015: 
It's a draft; we're still word-smithing...

"Bridging Our Gaps With Creativity: Honoring Our Past While Building Our Futures”

It may look something like this...

RELIB Staff Day

Author: Bonnie Winters
Library System: Ruth Enlow Library of Garrett County, Oakland

Top 3 things learned:

From the Staff Round Robin, I learned that coming up with some programs that target our male patrons would be a good idea.

From the Creative Problem Solving break-out session, I learned that individuals react to change based on their own mental model and where they are in the transition process, moving through the phases from endings to new beginnings. The exercise we did with Julie in the problem solving session was
very helpful in showing how people view change.

Also in the problem solving session, we worked through a transition (the pie), the core components (ingredients of the pie), and then removal of one of these core ingredients and likened the process to the starfish losing one leg. The starfish's response would be to grow a new leg. And our assignment
was to list 1 or 2 opportunities that became available because of the lost component. In other words, we had to look at the pie with a new set of possibilities, rather than giving up because the one component was missing.

How to implement:

Regarding programming targeted to male patrons, we are researching options available to us.

Regarding the problem solving model, I have to remember to be open to new possibilities and looking at each situation with an open mind. Just because we can't do it one way doesn't mean we might not be able to do it in a different way.

Governor's Grants Conference 2014

Author: Harry Sachs
Library System: Washington County Free Library, Hagerstown

Learning Event website:

Top 3 things learned:

1) MARYLAND OPEN DATA LAW—Government Transparency

A major focus of the conference was this new law with speakers from the state and federal levels offering commentaries. This law, which went into effect in 2014, requires state agencies to make much of its public information machine-readable and searchable. A 37-member council was created as part of the law with a set list of targets that include designing and conducting a statewide data inventory, agreeing on minimum metadata standards and geo-aggregate standards, reviewing data mapping practices and establishing a statewide standard disclaimer and acknowledgement requirement. This council will encourage all branches of state and local government to use state open data portals and create their own, and adopt policies consistent with state Open Data policy. A national organization recently ranked Maryland in a six-way tie for first place for the state's commitment to open data and government transparency. The state's open data platform ( is part of an effort to foster government transparency and innovation and help spark entrepreneurial opportunities. The data can be viewed by type or category, such as administrative, budget, agriculture, economic or demographic. Visualization tools allow users to create charts and maps based on the data and embed these into web documents to share with others.

2) USA SPENDING—Tracking What the Federal Government Spends

Required by the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act, this tool ( is meant as a way of using technology to give the American public the means to track federal government spending with a single, searchable database on federal grants. According to its website, collecting data about the various types of contracts, grants, loans, and
other types of spending at the federal level will provide a broader picture of the Federal spending processes, and will help to meet the need of greater transparency.

3) EARN MARYLAND—Workforce Development Grants Program

EARN Maryland ( is a new state-funded ($9 million) competitive workforce development grants program that is industry-led and regional in focus. EARN Maryland aims to address the demands of businesses by focusing intensively on the workforce needs of a specific industry sector over a sustained period. EARN Maryland invests in strategic industry partnerships from key economic sectors in every region. In Western Maryland, the EARN Maryland 2014 Implementation Grantee Partnerships include the Washington County Manufacturing Partnership.

How to implement
The Open Data Law could be the focus of a future workshop on government transparency and citizen access to data. The Maryland Office of the Attorney General has also recently released this fall a revised edition of the Maryland Public Information Act Manual. Because the law has just been
enacted, the best approach at this time would be disseminating information for public awareness purposes.

Kids Are Customers, Too

Author: Laura Gross
Library System: Washington County Free Library, Smithsburg

Top 3 things learned

  1. Early Childhood Readiness to Read. 
  2. Greg Pizzoli's writing process. 
  3. The benefits of comic books.

How to implement: 

  • Post tips around our children's room to give parents ideas how to incorporate reading skills into every day activities. 
  • Create specified lists of activities (At the beach, In the car, etc...) for parents to take and use to help their children with reading readiness. 
  • Keep updated with the newest and best comic for recommendations to parents and kids.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Polaris Users Group Annual Meeting

Full Name: Maria Smucker
Library System: Washington County Free Library

Learning Event website:

Top 3 things learned:
1) Current library practices in training and implementing RDA standards -
more libraries have adopted RDA, but it's still very much all over the place
in terms of how much is done.
2) Common concerns and issues shared by cataloging/TP staff in other
3) Still a work-in-progress with FRBR and the future shape of authority

How to implement
Focus future training on developments in RDA and especially the somewhat esoteric FRBR if possible. Eventually this will impact the catalog.

Monday, November 17, 2014

RELIB Staff Day 2014

Full Name: Allen Dunson
Library System: Ruth Enlow Library of Garrett County

Top 3 things learned:

  • Genealogists are loyal patrons and some times need little guidance.
  • Lexile is not a Superman villain. It's got something to do with rating book difficulty.
  • Bowling alleys can be loud.

How to implement: 
Show a patron interested in genealogy the resources on our website.

Reflection Image:

RELIB Staff Day 2014

Full Name: Connie Savage
Library System: Ruth Enlow Library of Garrett County

Top 3 things learned:

  • I have not yet worked with any questions on Lexile so the presentation explained where to look up Lexile scores and explained how the system worked. After the presentation I was able to talk to a colleague who has children and is familiar with Lexile reader and text so if I had any questions her knowledge is available.
  • The Genealogy 101 session gave book suggestions for further information with search techniques. A new site for me was PERSI which I think will be very useful. 
  • Mary Mannix went over a lot of good information that would help the beginner and seasoned genealogy hunters.

How to implement:

Mary's information will help with questions on genealogy with book titles and web sites that patrons may not familar with. The Lexile information will also be helpful with parent/child questions.

Additional learning: 
The topics that were covered was explained well. It was good to find the colleagues that have worked with the topics so if any questions arise they might be available to help.

Friday, November 14, 2014

RELIB Staff Day 2014

Author: Crystal Adkins
Ruth Enlow Library of Garrett County

Top 3 things learned:
1) Lexile Scores-We learned a little more about what the scores mean and how to
find them on the Scholastic website. We briefly went over the search function
and how to use it effectively.

2) AR Books- We reviewed that AR books are elementary age and that the Lexile
scores are for middle school. I learned that there is a search sight for
these as well.

3) Genealogy Resources- We had a whirlwind of information flying at us in the
brief amount of time allotted for class. There are many, many resources in
the library, physically and ones that we provide online, but we also briefly
touched on some of the other resources out there, for example the genealogy
library that the Mormon church curates.

How to implement
First, I need to explore all these great resources. Then, I will be able to effectively answer patrons requests for Lexile scores, ARlists and books for their children from these categories. I will also, be able to direct genealogy patrons to the right resources to conduct their research.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Kids Are Customers, Too

Kids Are Customers, Too took place on October 16th in Westminster MD. Several guests appeared to talk about the future of libraries and involving children as our number one customer. Some of these guests were FutureMakers, Gregg Pizolli (author of Watermelon Seed), and David A. Kelly (author of the baseball mystery series).

While I enjoyed the entire conference my favorite was guerilla storytime. A group of children's librarians shared ideas on certain questions posed at the event. Anything from how to deal with screaming to children to fun opening and closing songs. I'm now using some that were suggested!

It was quite special to hear authors read their own books and just how long it takes for them to publish even a short picture book. The amount of work, time and effort put into them makes you appreciate the millions of books we have for children in our libraries today. Go, authors!

Digital Media Storytime

Digital Media Storytime took place on October 6th and 7th at the Hagerstown central branch. A two day training focusing on the proper ways to give a storytime for young children and how to implement certain technologies.

As I am new to the field, even though I have the early childhood background, I found this training beneficial. Creative ways of using technology, such as e-books and popular children's apps was fascinating to hear about. Though, I use a lot of social media I wasn't too familiar with a lot of the popular apps they suggested.

It is my plan to eventually use the specifics of digitalization in storytime. I think this will draw in a certain age group and really get them interested in the library setting!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Six-Second Training Videos

Is it possible to learn something in six seconds? 

Yes it is and some companies are leveraging Vine, an app which produces six-second videos, to do just that. A great example of this is Lowes:

On Lowes' vine channel:
- You can learn how to use a cookie cutter to easily carve a pumpkin. 
- You can learn how to use walnuts to remove/repair scratches in a hardwood floor. 

Just a couple examples. But what I'm thinking about, of course, is what (content) can we teach through vines that is useful to public library staff? What (content) does it make sense to teach through vines? This mode of learning and training design is enticing to me as a staff development coordinator because who can tell me they don't have six seconds to watch a training video? And now with the statewide Learning Porfiolios, who can say they aren't going to watch vines because they aren't worth CEU credit?

But perhaps I'm thinking about it all wrong. Maybe the training should be on how library staff can utilize vine to the benefit of our customers in ways similar to those suggested here:

Possible topics for training Vines:

- WMRL staff and roles tour: to easily and quickly show who we are and what we do.
(To replace the explore and experience tour)

- advertising what we have in the emerging tech collection and how to get them. 

- WMRL staff orientation videos (since we don't have an orientation curriculum)

- others? My brain is stuffed from this conference so, I'm having a hard time thinking of ideas. Let me know - make suggestions in the comments. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Brain Engagement with Ann Herrmann-Nehdi

This first official workshop-y session I attended at Learning 2014 was about the mechanics of brain engagement and it was a fantastic and thought-provoking 60-minutes. I'm still synthesizing most of it but here are some highlights:

Examples of how our brains can be simultaneously disengaged and engaged.

The Invisible Gorilla. Even if you've already seen this example before, watch it again. 

The Stroop Test. Say the color of the word but not the text. 

What this makes me wonder...

How important is it for learners to be aware of this brain science? If they come into a workshop or some other type of learning moment and they are self-aware of their engagement levels, would that help them monitor their personal learning experiences or would it just increase distraction and disengagement? 

If it would be beneficial for learners to be aware of this, how do we make that happen effectively?

How trainers/facilitators can do to manage learners' engagement?

PROCESS acronym: 

P is for patterning. Our brains create patterns to enhance efficiency. See the Stroop Test above. It's hard to resist/break cognitive patterns once they're formed. Trainers need to work to be aware of the patterns we all have. I like to think mental models fall into this category and I'm doing a workshop on that very topic for the Ruth Enlow library of Garrett County on Nov. 11. 

R is for rest. Our memories are consolidated during the first 4 hours of sleep. When we are sleep deprived our brains function as though we are drunk. Point being, it is advisable to spread learning moments over time. Instead of having a 4 hour workshop, have two 2-hour workshops within 2-3 days of each other. This is what I'm hoping to attempt in January with our customer conversations workshop where we have a 3-hour session followed by a learning portfolio homework assignment which keeps the learning going at the learners' convenience over the span of two months. Staggering the learning is key. Someone said that effective learning is much like tending toy our lawn. You don't want to flood the lawn on Sunday and just let it soak. You want to water it a little bit each day depending on the weather, etc. 

O is for own through translation. This just means that for learning to stick, learners need to be able to synthesize and summarize the point. What's even better is when they can teach someone else what they just learned. If this isn't possible, then ask the learners to create a metaphor for what they learned. I love this idea! 

C is for context. This is the' "why are we doing this?" This makes me think of Simon Sinek's golden circle and starting with Why. If we aren't clear in our intentions, such as why we are offering a workshop on a particular topic, then hesitancy will increase among would-be participants. Build trust and build buy-in by communicating the context and motivation clearly. 

E is for emotion. Emotion hard-wires memory, especially strong emotions. Do you remember where you were on 9/11? That's what psychologists refer to as a flashbulb moment. It's been imprinted on our memories because of the strong emotions involved. For many baby boomers, the JFK assassination is a flashbulb moment. This is something I haven't considered much in the workshops I design - how to leverage emotion and create appropriately emotional moments...other than maybe frustration which isn't intentional but is something I know I've caused people to feel. 

S is for social by design. Brains are engaged when we are interacting and learning with other people. Jane Hart apparently wrote the book on social engagement which I'll need to check out. I like to think I do this pretty well by incorporating pair and small group learning moments in my workshops as well as meetings. 

S is for style. Learning styles, that is. I have to admit that I design workshops and meetings that engage my style preferences which are also my strengths. This is definitely an area of improvement for me. You can read more about this on the presenter's company's website. 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Masie Learning 2014 Conference

This is the best conference I attend all year because it's saturated with ideas and people and workshops that are all about empowering others through learning: online learning, classroom learning, micro-learning, flipped learning, etc. Although the conference doesn't officially start till this evening, I've already gotten a few ideas for my vision of the library of the future. 

In my vision, library staff will be their own staff development coordinators because in the future, their personal and professional growth will be priority number one within their organizations and it will be priority number one within themselves. They will have their own staff development budgets and they will have dedicated learning time scheduled into their days and their learning goals will be tied to and monitored regularly through the use of social media or blogs, etc (annual reviews are not enough). 

My hypothesis is that the more library staff are empowered and encouraged and required to 1) self identify their learning needs - both personal and professional, and 2) to identify ways to meet and exceed those needs by being aware of how they best learn new things, then they will be more likely to empower and encourage library customers to do the same for themselves. 

Instead of being a purely quantitative process, certification will be based on demonstration of learning. In other words, it will be a more qualitative process with the staff leading workshops that teach others what they learned because nothing says, "I know how to do/be ______" better than being able to teach someone else how to do/be ________." Instead of counting how many workshops staff attend, we will instead count the number of workshops they facilitate/teach/lead or on a smaller scale, we will count the number of times they teach a customer how to do something new like how to set up a gmail account or how to use a library database. The details still need to be worked out for this section but you get the idea. At any rate, certification should be granted when you can show that you are a different person than you were five years ago, and that you pushed your profession or your library to evolve in some way. 

Just some thoughts as I begin to immerse myself in learning at Masie's Learning 2014 conference. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Kids Are Customer, Too

The Children's Services Division of the Maryland Library Association presented its annual Kids Are Customers, Too on 16 October, 2104. 
FutureMakers guru Matt Baribholtz presented us with a baggie with batteries, sticky foam, straws, l.e.d. light, popsicle sticks, rubber band and foldable paper box.   We had to make something.
Amanda Roberson spoke of the new edition of Every Child Ready to Read.
The most enjoyable part is always the guest authors, winners of the Blue Crab Award.  This year was a humorously understated Greg Pizzoli and David A. Kelly.  I agree wholehearted with the respective picks of  The Watermelon Seed and Miracle Mud.
We finished the day with Guerrilla Story Time where questions for unusual situations and problems were answered by the experts, us!?!

New Media in Storytime

On 7 October, 2014, Cen Campbell gave a workshop on incorporating new media into storytimes.  Cen is the founder of and is at the forefront of using new media as emergent literature.
A media mentor will be essential to vet new applications for educators.
Apps were loaded onto ipads and are ready to be used.
This was an informative and enjoyable day focusing on the future of storytimes.

Transforming Pre-school Storytime: Plugged and Unplugged

On 6 October, 2014, Betsy Diamant-Cohen presented a workshop for children's librarians in the digital age. The most noteworthy point to take away is that the use of a device is just another tool,  and should be used with human interaction.
I've already used the Alligator, alligator finger play (with repetition) to the enjoyment of toddlers.
We did an exercise planning a program using one picture book for six consecutive weeks.  Each week would emphasis a different school readiness skill.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Kids Are Customers, Too

On Thursday, October 16, 2014, I attended the Kids Are Customers, Too workshop sponsored by the Children's Services Division of the Maryland Library Association.  I always look forward to this workshop, as it's nice to see librarians from around the state and have a chance to share ideas.  This year, guest authors were Greg Pizzoli (The Watermelon Seed and Number One Sam) and David A. Kelly (Miracle Mud and the Ballpark Mysteries).  I now have a new favorite choice for storytime- Greg Pizzoli's books are wonderful and I can't wait for Templeton Gets His Wish to come out early next year.  Be sure to visit his Etsy site and check out his adorable book buttons!  Other sessions were presented by FutureMakers, a mobile makerspace, and Maryland children's librarians.  I learned a little bit more about the maker movement in libraries and Every Child Ready to Read, a tool for librarians to use in teaching parents and other adults about early literacy skills.  I wish that both sessions would have been more in depth as there was so much more to share and learn.  The last session I attended was a Guerilla Storytime.  I've heard about this movement, but didn't know much about it.  Developed by a group called Storytime Underground, these storytimes and sessions are a chance for groups of librarians to get together and brainstorm ideas for how to handle difficulties that may occur during storytimes.  Librarians shared ideas for getting antsy toddlers to sit still, chatty parents to stop talking, opening and closing rhymes, and more.  My new favorite closing rhymes are:

We clap to say goodbye, we clap to say goodbye,
Hip hip hooray, we had fun today,
We clap to say to say goodbye (tune "The Farmer in the Dell")

After thanking the adults for bringing the children to storytime, sing:

Our hands say thank you with a clap, clap, clap.
Our feet say thank you with a tap, tap, tap.
Clap, clap, clap. Tap, tap, tap.
And we roll our hands together and say goodbye.

One librarian shared her ABC storytime rules.  A is for all aboard: it's time for everyone to engage in our storytime activities. B is for break- feel free to take a break if someone is fussy and then come back in to storytime when they are clamed down.  C is for chatting and cell phones, which are both distracting for little learners.

All in all, it was a great conference and I feel like I came back with practical ideas I can use in both programming and reader's advisory. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

PUG 2014

Lake Onondaga
Lake Onongada, Liverpool, NY
Event: Polaris Users Group (PUG) 2014, Syracuse, New York, October 8-10th.

So this was a bitter sweet Polaris Users Group (PUG) as with the recent acquisition to the Innovative Group this was the last PUG at Syracuse, New York.  So I thought that it would be fitting to take some time and venture out to see Syracuse a little.  I've added some of the pictures for your enjoyment. 

What I learned at the last official PUG meeting:  Well, being the geek that I am, this year's PUG did not disappoint.  It was like I was in code heaven, lol!  There were so many sessions on SQL (Structured Query Language) reporting and queries, I thought I was literally going to jump out of my skin!
Where Megatron lives...I think!

On day one it was the Polaris Day opening with lots of information about the company and where they are headed.  It was a little different atmosphere than in previous years, but that is to be expected when 2 companies merge together.  We also learned that Innovative acquired VTLS (Visionary Technology in Library Solutions) in the recent months in addition to Polaris.  VTLS is out of Blacksburg, Virginia; a ILS system initially designed by and for Virginia Tech.  Innovative now has several ILS platforms available which includes Sierra, Millennium, Polaris, and now VTLS.

The best part of Polaris Day was a training session called "Find Tool SQL Queries".  It was everything I ever wanted to know about how to get a better query inside the PAC client tool.  I've always struggled because my queries never seemed to work because my SQL structure didn't match what it wanted.  But then that was the day that I finally found out why.  Ah..oh...ah!  It was like the skies broken open and I could hear the hallelujah choir!  Seriously, lol, it was one of those moments! So if you're in the PAC and you are wanting better queries when searching, please shoot me an email and I'll send you the presentation. (I don't think I can share it in this public forum.)  If there is some kind of recordset that you're looking to create and haven't been able to achieve it, please give me a call and I'll see if I can help.

Another class that was most memorable for me was a class called "Reporting Outside the Box".  With the change to Polaris there were some reports that we used to get via email, but with the change to Polaris there was no way to do that, or so it seemed.  I learned that I can set up permissions for users to be able to see reports via the Internet and the reports could be set up to be scheduled and emailed to the users.  Say what!?!  Finally, I can set up reports to be scheduled for mailing!  Oh the bliss! :)  (Yes, I am excited to start using this!)

Syracuse and the Erie Canal
Downtown Syracuse banks and the canal
I also liked a session called "Online Catalog Design" which was a System Admin session that showed some easy work-arounds for customizing the catalog. 

Overall it was a very good PUG, but still bitter sweet.  We are unofficially going to be merging with the Innovative Users Group (IUG). There are still some things to work through before it all becomes official.  The next users group for IUG will be in Minneapolis, Minnesota in April 2015.  I'm not sure if I will be there, but I do look forward to what is next for Polaris.

Freedom Trail map
My history moment for Jill -The Freedom Trail
One of the other big things coming with Polaris is the new cloud-based LEAP platform as a client tool.  The first module that they will be rolling out is the Circulation module which is a cloud based client tool for checking-in and checking-out materials.  There is also a module that allows web-based Patron registration.  A cloud-based client tool basically means that you can be on an iPad checking books in or out from the stacks and/or registering patrons remotely without having the standard windows client tool installed on the device, it's completely browser based.  It's the next revolution for ILS systems and Polaris has a gem with their new LEAP platform.  It was part of the reason that they merged with Innovative.  The early adopters of LEAP and Polaris 5.0 will be in November 2014.   Baltimore County and Carroll County have been early beta testers and will be moving to the new platform in November 2014.

So overall, PUG 2014 was another great success, I always learn so much and it's always great to see friends that I've made over the years.  Although we wont be returning to Syracuse, New York again, we will all have fond memories of the previous users groups.  We've only been with Polaris for a few years, but over the years I've developed great relationships with other Polaris users across the country.  I look forward to the new adventures with the IUG meetings.  Since IUG is a global company with offices around the world serving 66 countries, I'm sure I'll be meeting and making new friendships from colleagues from all over the world.  :)

The pictures above:
1. Lake Onongada in Liverpool, NY (Polaris has it's office in Liverpool, a small community northwest of Syracuse.)
2. Niagara Mohawk Building (this art deco building was built in 1932, it was the headquarters of the nation's largest utility company Niagara Mohawk.  It is on the National Register of Historic Places. Cool building...still think that Megatron lives there, lol)
3. Clinton Square Park (red building is the Third National Bank building built in 1885; taller building is Syracuse Savings Bank built in 1875; the fountain was once a functioning section of the Erie Canal.)
4. The Freedom Trail (marks stop throughout Syracuse for the Underground railroad).

Monday, October 13, 2014

ARSL Conference

ARSL (Association for Rural/Small Libraries) Conference - Sept. 3 - 6

Libraries Reimagined –Breakfast address on Friday – Daniel Rasmus 

Daniel addressed the uncertain future that libraries face and the importance of navigating change as it occurs. Some points to think about:
  • What do we hire a library for? Why do people come to the library?
  • How will we represent knowledge?
  • Outside-in-thinking: Libraries talking about the world they live in and how they bring services to that world, and what services.
  • Plan for the future we want but also for the future we are given.

Marketing Your Library – Breakout Session – Beth Wheeler Dean 

A dynamic library director from Guntersville, Alabama, Beth was great. She said to be smart about marketing and get what you want. Her example: Her library went to Staples for tax-free days and helped people set up their tablets – and gave out library cards.

Libraries can no longer just sell their product, she emphasized. Small libraries need to be full service and the biggest part of marketing is the “things we do.”

“Everything comes down to people – staff, users/patrons, and people that never use the library. All combine to build your library’s image in the community. You will build invaluable relationships as you place your library before your public. Remember to listen, not just talk.”

Points I noted:
  • Market the service, not the product.
  • Market the benefit, not the features.
  • Market what they value, and continue to do what we value.
  • Market personality. If you’re helpful to patrons, they will tell others.
  •  Never ever market something you can’t deliver.
  •  Create and market differently to different groups.
  •  Understand the cost curve and how it applies to libraries. (Example, something could incur hours of staff time.)
  •  Use SWOT Analysis – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
  • Advocacy is important on the part of library staff and Trustees, Friends of the Library, and patrons.Staff can inspire users, find partners, and tell the library story. Trustees, Friends, and patrons can lobby local government, tell the library story, volunteer, use the library, cook and give parties.