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60 Seconds of Tech Podcast #3

March 23rd, 2010 Comments off

Resources discussed:

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Come Up and See Us Sometime

January 25th, 2010 Comments off

The Lewis & Clark Library System has over 130 members. The members call us with questions. We see members during continuing education events. Members ask us for advice and suggestions. But often it seems we only talk with a member during a crisis situation. So the Consultants have been calling on the members just to visit, to talk, to see how LCLS can help. We are in the midst of year 2 (of a three-year schedule) to visit all our members.

When we developed the visitation list, I asked the consultants to see libraries they did not know well. This has the major benefit of familiarizing both the consultant and the library director with each other, with the services that particular consultant provides to the members and with the services that library offers its residents or students.

So far, we have physically visited nearly 30 members. During the visit we have a few pre-set questions to help start the conversation. But we quickly discovered the members did not need any help to start talking with the consultants! The discussions seem to center on funding, how to enhance library services, what types of programs the library has held/is holding. (I personally love the therapy dogs at Hayner, Glen Carbon and Bunker Hill.) Training for staff is also a frequent point during the visits.

After the visit, the consultant follows up with any promised information to the librarian. We also share our visits with the other consultants by completing a Checklist. We won’t want what we learned to disappear, unused.

Have you not yet had your library’s visit? Not to worry, we will visit you within the next 18 months.

As a by-product of the site visits, the consultants are working to call each member library at least once each six months, to see how things are going and how LCLS can help.

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Using LibraryLearning in 2010

January 4th, 2010 Comments off

If you’re not already taking full advantage of the Library Learning (L2) calendar, make 2010 the year you do so. Here are three suggestions for making the most of it.

Watch for new and upcoming meetings

When you created an account on L2, you were subscribed to the weekly L2 Announce. Persons affiliated with LCLS libraries receive an edition containing announcements of LCLS events, as well as those offered by the Illinois State Library. Review L2 Announce when it arrives in your email inbox, and register for events that you want to attend. L2 Announce is a primary source of information about continuing education opportunities and other events.

No L2 account yet? Just click on Register in the gray box in the upper right of the L2 screen, and follow the steps to create your account. Be sure to choose your library association to get the most out of L2. New accounts are reviewed and approved by library system staff, usually within a day or two. You won’t be able to pay for events with a credit card until your account is approved.

Search for information on Illinois libraries

Click on Libraries (in the gray box in the upper right of the L2 screen) to get a directory of Illinois libraries.

L2 includes the library’s address, phone, fax, Web site address, map, hours, resource sharing policies for interlibrary loan and reciprocal borrowing, delivery route and frequency, OCLC code, ELI control number, and library automation status. Most information was updated in spring 2009 as part of the Illinois State Library’s annual certification process. However, the resource sharing section was added just a few months ago, so much of that information is still lacking.

It’s your library’s responsibility to keep its L2 information updated. Your library director or a designee has the ability to edit your library information, as well as to add/remove staff affiliations and to register staff for L2 events. LCLS library directors may designate another staff member as registrar/editor by emailing Charm Ruhnke. The resource sharing information can be updated by your library’s interlibrary loan or reference staff without them being designated as registrars/editors.

LCLS is now using L2 as its official member directory, so it is important that your library keep its information updated. When you click on the membership directory on the LCLS Web site, you are now taken to the LCLS section of the L2 library directory.

Update your profile

When you opened your L2 account, a basic profile was automatically created for you. You should review your profile periodically to be sure it contains up-to-date information. To review your profile, sign in to L2, and then click on your name. Then click Edit Profile, and make any changes that are necessary.

You should make sure that your email address and library affiliations(s) are correct. If you change your email address, you will then use that new email address to sign into L2. If you have changed jobs or work for more than one library, you should still have only one L2 account. Don’t set up a new account when you get a new library position! Just log into your profile and update your library affiliation(s). You can be affiliated with more than one library.

Other profile information to check includes:

  • Your photo. With so much communication being done by email and phone, it builds community when library staff can associate photos with names and email addresses.
  • Your title
  • Your job responsibilities. If you’re the LCLS contact person for your agency, be sure that System Representative is checked.
  • Your privacy settings

Questions?

Help is just a click away at the Help link in the upper right of the L2 screen. LCLS members who cannot find the answer should contact Charm Ruhnke

Adapted from a post by Jane Plass of the DuPage Library System

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April Board Meeting

April 22nd, 2009 Comments off

The LCLS Board of Directors met Tuesday, April 21st at 6:00 pm. Board members present included: President Elaine Steingrubey, Vice President Pat Wandling, Secretary Joyce Reid, Treasurer Norm Schiller, and members JoAnn Nabe, Linda McDonnell, and Matt Paris. Also in attendance was Pat Norris, our consultant liaison from the Illinois State Library; as well as LCLS staff Amanda McKay, Bonnie Kilmurray, Charm Ruhnke, Judy Rake, Juliette Douglas, Leslie Bednar, and myself. (Agenda)

The Board discussed several topics under the President’s Report:

  • System Directors Memo from the Illinois State Library regarding Library System Membership Criteria
  • Agenda for the Illinois Library System Presidents & Directors upcoming meeting at the Illinois State Library (April 29, 2009)
  • So far there have been 50 responses to the LCLS Board election ballot

Under the Vice President’s Report it was mentioned that two Board members had received birthday greetings from National City Bank, Edwardsville Branch.

The following items were discussed under the Executive Director’s Report:

Board Relations

  • A map of Legislative districts in the LCLS service area.
  • Judy Rake discussed Illinois Library Day (April 23) and items to be included in Legislator’s packets.
  • The LCLS Annual Meeting occurs immediately prior to the June Board meeting on June 16th from about 4:45 – 5:45, Amanda McKay is coordinating this meeting. We hope that just before the annual meeting we can hold a Board member orientation for new Board members, from approximately 3:30 – 4:30.

Personnel Development

  • New staff orientation was held for Randy Thompson, Courier Driver, and Vince Andrzejewski, Cataloging Maintenance Center cataloging assistant.
  • As a result of the Project Management training staff received, we instituted “Hi 5” – a daily 5 minute meeting we hold at 8:45 each morning to share what is happening in the building for the day, who is here and who is not, and what topics staff plan to work on throughout the day. We have found these meetings to be quite constructive and helpful.

Community and Organizational Involvement

There was really not much to report other than upcoming meeting dates:

  • Standards & Rules – Friday, April 24
  • ISL Scholarship Review – May 26-28 in Chicago, and June 9 in Springfield
  • ILSDO – May 5-6 at NSLS
  • ILA Board Meeting – Thursday, April 23 (afternoon) & Friday, April 24 (very early morning)
  • I also mentioned that I will be leaving the Standards & Rules committee meeting early in order to drive to the O’Fallon Public Library to participate in a kick-off event regarding the Watt Readers in Illinois libraries. Ameren has made arrangements for this event. Governor Quinn is expected to speak as well as Ameren Illinois Utilities President Scott Cisel, Molly Scanlan O’Fallon Public Library Director and myself (2 minutes to talk about this is what libraries and Systems do).

Membership Relations

  • Value statements were emailed to every LCLS member library director, individualized to their library. These statements reflected only some of the services provided as a result of the Area & Per Capita grant the System receives from the Illinois State Library each year – this grant is the System’s main funding source. There is also a value statement on the LCLS Web site compiling the information regarding all 133 LCLS member libraries.
  • We viewed the short National Library Workers Day Animoto video recording produced by Lincoln Trail Libraries System on behalf of all regional multi-type library systems to thank staff in all member libraries for the work they do everyday. This was sent via email to all LCLS member staffs for whom we have email addresses, it also was on the LCLS Web site.

Administration/Fiscal Topics

  • The Board approved the FY2009-2010 Budget.
  • A sample of a letter sent to approximately 70 local non-library organizations marketing the availability of LCLS meeting rooms for rent was distributed as well as the Meeting Rooms brochure.
  • I will be attending an ALA preconference After the Grant Runs Out about funding grant projects after the initial grant funding is gone. We hope this will be useful in sustaining illinoismap.info into the future
  • Because the System recently purchased a new photocopier/printer/fax machine (one machine that can do it all), the Board declared the old photocopier and fax machine as fully depreciated and surplus. We expect to offer these pieces of equipment for sale.

Planning

  • The Board had the first reading of a FY2010 Annual Plan of Service. We are required to submit an Annual Plan of Service to the State Library each year in our Area & Per Capita Grant application. This plan outlines the specific items we expect to work on over the fiscal year.
  • There was also brief discussion regarding the Area & Per Capita Grant application process. This year the application is due to the State Library by May 29th. The Board acknowledges the application as it has already approved the individual components in it.

Miscellaneous

  • LCLS received a $4,000 donation from National City Bank to install power doors for the disabled.
  • Our intern, Mercy Dena, will be graduating from the SIUE Public Administration and Policy Analysis program on May 9th. Her last day at the System will be May 8th. We will certainly miss her. Mercy has been instrumental in a myriad of duties over the past year, including set up and analysis of surveys, the member orientation video, setting up centralized member files, the production of a delivery video recording for use statewide, and many others. Mercy has been accepted into SLU’s Doctoral program, so we hope to see her from time to time before she returns to Kenya. We hope to have a new intern by the fall.
  • Some upcoming events that staff will be attending include: Disney Keys to Excellence on May 19th at SIUE (sponsored by the Edwardsville/Glen Carbon Chamber of Commerce), Smart Women Smart Money on May 14th at Gateway Convention Center in Collinsville (sponsored by Alexi Giannoulias, Illinois State Treasurer), and the 11th annual Illinois Leadership Conference on June 10th in Champaign (sponsored by University of Illinois Extension).

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March Board Meeting

March 18th, 2009 Comments off

The LCLS Board of Directors met Tuesday, March 17th at 6:00 pm. All Board members were in attendance as well as Pat Norris, our consultant liaison from the State Library, and several LCLS staff members.  (Agenda)

The Board officially adopted the revisions to the Bylaws. It was noted that there are nominations for the public library trustee representing a population under 15,000 seat and the at large public library trustee seat. Nominations are still needed for the public library trustee representing a population over 15,000. Nomination information can be found on the LCLS Web site.

The following items were discussed under the Executive Director’s Report:

Legislative changes

  • District 51 – Representative Kyle McCarter replaces Frank Watson
  • District 98 – Representative Betsy Hannig replaces Gary Hannig
  • District 107 – Representative John D. Cavaletto replaces Kurt Granberg
  • District 114 – Representative Eddie Lee Jackson, Sr. replaces Wyvetter Younge

Legislative Updates

  • Look at CapWiz for Illinois Legislation and Illinois Library Association position
  • HB 793 is specific to Regional Library Systems with geographic areas of more than 4,500 square miles and is in regards to the Open Meetings Act and the ability to have an electronic quorum

Personnel Development – no report

Community & Organizational Involvement

  • Illinois State Library Standards & Rules Committee: it is important for people to make comments on the draft standards as they are published on WebJunction Illinois; minutes from these meetings at available on the State Library’s Web site
  • Illinois State Library Advisory Council: met on March 12th.  Some of the topics discussed included: an Electronic Documents of Illinois (EDI) audit the ISL received; a budget presentation from Tom Jones, Deputy Director of the Secretary of State’s Budget Office; the OCLC Network Services Transition.
  • Illinois Library System Directors Organization: met on March 11 at Alliance Library System.  Among other topics, these were discussed: through an averaging of delivery expenditures at the nine regional multi-type Library Systems, the cost of an item to be delivered from point A to point B is approximately .23¢; ILSDO will offer two programs at the upcoming Illinois Library Association Conference – Emily Sheketoff from the ALA Washington Office and a program on Green Initiatives; Natalie Hemmer from Ameren spoke with the directors from Shawnee, Lewis & Clark, Lincoln Trail, Rolling Prairie, Alliance, and Prairie Area Library Systems about a partnership to place watt “readers” in libraries for circulation to the general public (LCLS will provide the original cataloging via the Cataloging Maintenance Center).
  • Illinois Library Association: offering President Barack Obama license plates to Illinois drivers.  Costing $50.00 a pair, these plates can be placed on Illinois vehicles through April 17th.  $35.00 of the proceeds goes to ILA for reading programs such as the summer IREAD program.
  • I am honored to accept an invitation from the Illinois State Library to serve on the ISL Training Grant Review Committee.  This grant offering awards $7,500 scholarships for Illinois students to attend library school.  Both Leslie Bednar and I were fortunate to have received this scholarship for our own MLS degrees.  I encourage anyone interested in pursuing a library degree to apply for this opportunity.  Applications are due May 1st each year.

Membership Relations

  • The Hayner Public Library District will hold a Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting for the Alton Square Mall facility on Saturday, March 21, at 12:00 noon.  Following the Ribbon Cutting, there will be a performance at 1:00 pm by the Jesse White Tumblers in the  JC Penney Court of the Mall. (as an aside I visited the new facility today – March 18th.  It is just beautiful and is full of many patron-friendly features.  I would encourage everyone who can to attend the Grand Opening or to stop by and see the new facility anytime after March 21st.)
  • Checks were sent with the current check run to those GateNet libraries that will experience a more than $150 increase in their FY10 OCLC charges.  These subsidy checks were made possible by a grant from the State Library.

Administration/Fiscal Topics

  • The Board had the first reading of the proposed FY2010 System budget; the second reading will be at the April Board meeting on April 21.
  • National City Bank donation: we have been informed that the System will receive a donation to allow us to install push buttons for the front doors to make the System completely handicapped accessible.
  • Washington University Taylor Community Consulting Project: the System has been chosen to have a team of MBA students review the current GateNet fee formula structure and to make recommendations for the GateNet Users Group to consider.  The first meeting will be held on Friday, March 20th at 1:00 pm at LCLS.
  • Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund: Juliette Douglas and I attended the February 27th IMRF Board meeting in Oak Brook.  It did impress the IMRF Board that we traveled all that way to make comments on the IMRF staff recommendations for % caps and actuarial timeframes.  The IMRF Board voted to accept the staff recommendations, which will have a better impact on the LCLS budget than possible alternatives.  A thank you letter is being sent to IMRF signed by Elaine Steingrubey (LCLS Board President) and myself.

Planning

  • The Board approved a revised LCLS Long Range Plan 2010 – 2013.  It will soon be loaded on the LCLS Web site in the About Us section.
  • The Librarians Advisory Council has added an April 2nd date to review a new Technology Development Plan and an Annual Plan of Service for recommendation to the Board at their April meeting.

Miscellaneous – Amanda McKay is working on a way for LCLS to commemorate National Library Workers Day on April 14th.

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RSS is SUPR!

February 27th, 2009 Comments off

Time for a quick lesson on RSS – Really Simple Syndication.  It might seem silly to explain a concept that has Really Simple in the name, but I didn’t totally get it at first, so here goes.  I think this video sums it up very well:


I often think of RSS as being akin to Tivo.  Instead of memorizing when all of your favorite shows are on TV, you can set the Tivo to record them all for watching at your convenience.  Similarly, RSS allows you to pull content from all your favorite websites into a central place, where you can browse them all at once.

So how can you start using it?  After getting an account, you can subscribe to Conduit’s RSS feed.  Any new posts will automagically be sent to your reader.  If that’s not enough, you can subscribe to new LCLS events in L2 with your RSS reader.

If you already use RSS, what library feeds do you subscribe to?

Categories: Technology Tags: , ,

Surviving These Economic Times

February 19th, 2009 Comments off

As a history buff, I am fascinated by the cycles society and civilizations go through. For example, my grandmothers would giggle about the free ’60’s, saying the roaring ’20’s were much wilder. And apparently the gay 1890’s were pretty out there, according to Grandma Lillie.

Less fun is the downward economic cycle we are currently experiencing. During my professional life, there were the slides of the early 1980’s, the early 1990’s, and who can forget 2000-2001? Each time the economy drops, amazing pressure is put on libraries. Our revenue shrinks, yet usage and demand for our services increases. Definitely keeping library directors and managers awake at night.

Over the years, librarians have shared their ideas to successfully save and/or reduce library-related costs. In fact, during the 2003 ILA conference, Anita Driver (Jerseyville Public Library) chaired a panel, Cutting Cost in Small Libraries and Still Providing Great Service, devoted to this topic. In today’s economic , it seems appropriate to share ideas to keep costs low while allowing us to continue serving our patrons.

  • To supplement staff, work with community service groups such as the National Honor Society, high school students, or practicum students to do projects for the library.
  • The keep building expenses low, ask retired electricians to volunteer working with the library.
  • Collaborate with local greenhouse to use the library’s grounds to showcase the greenhouse. Or ask area Master Gardeners to maintain the library’s yard.
  • Stretching the collection includes purchasing used DVDs from area video stores, or purchasing a DVD/CD cleaning matching to extend the life of the CD/DVDs
  • Ask local businesses to donate prizes for programs. Some of the prizes libraries have received include certificates for hair cuts, school supplies, bikes, meals, and pizzas
  • Always use the Illinois Department of Revenue’s sales tax exemption letter when purchasing items for the library
  • Join the Illinois System Directors’ Fund for Illinois Libraries for 501(c)3 status
  • Recycle, recycle, and recycle
  • Another way to stretch the library’s training dollars? Use the free WebJunction Illinois online courses for staff training. Course topics include Dealing with Angry Patrons, Directors ASK!, Merchandising that Works, and Accompanying the Young Reader. WebJunction Illinois also has the popular Shelving with Dewey. To access these free courses, log into your WebJunction Illinois account at http://il.webjunction.org, choosing IL Course Catalog at the main page.

You might also want to read Shifting Gears: rethinking resources in tough times from the Alliance Library System.

What ideas have worked at your library? Please share your ideas by posting them in the comments section of this post.

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Christmas presents 2.7

December 11th, 2008 Comments off

We’ve just upgraded our WordPress to version 2.7.  It’s a drastically different interface than v2.6, and I wonder how it must look to someone unfamiliar with WordPress.  My own impression is that it’s intended to shed light on some oft-forgotten features, which is great.  To achieve that goal, they widgetized practically every feature onto the front page, which can be a bit overwhelming

Will it make you a better blogger (or a better commenter)?  Probably not.  Will it continue to be a shining example of the power of open-source software?  Oh yes friends; yes it will.

Categories: Technology Tags: , , ,

Blogs a-go-go

November 26th, 2008 Comments off

The staff at LCLS has decided to take a step into the library blogosphere.  Of course, they’ve always wanted to (albeit unknowingly).  There are innumerable ideas and thoughts that have been waiting for the perfect venue of self-expression; they need no longer slip through the cracks of our minds.  Rather, they’ll be read, analyzed, absorbed, reflected upon, commented on, and in some cases, ignored. Even the last case is not the equivalent of failure.  Not every idea to pass through our minds is destined to be realized; some are unattainable, unsustainable, and some are better left for another time.  On the flip side, there are some ideas that take wing and go on to become an integral part of our work.  In any case, if we’re afraid to advance an idea that may be too risky or different, we’ll never create anything really original.

For me, the prospect of being wrong is not as disappointing as letting ideas disintegrate without having received a chance.

Of course, a day of work is filled with distractions and obligations which make testing every idea impossible (or even most ideas).  An easy solution to this problem is to get personal assistants for our staff (LSTA grant, anyone?).  Sadly, this idea will (probably) not come to pass.

So while we can’t get assistants or avoid daily obligations, we can share our ideas and thoughts with other librarians.  Whether they think your idea is stupid or brilliant, they’ll gain a bit of your experience and you’ll gain a little insight from their comments.  This is the symbiosis of a blog; readers learn from the author, (hopefully) leave comments, which benefit the author and other readers.  It’s this cozy little arrangement that gives blogs their lustre and reputation as a great way to air ideas.

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