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Thanks Alaska Library Association!

Tame the Web - Tue, 2015-03-03 13:08


Thanks to the Alaska Library Association for the invitation and warm welcome to Juneau last week. I was honored to keynote the conference and spend time with the incredibly dedicated Alaskan librarians.

I was also able to break away for the afternoon and hike around the Mendenhall Glacier. It was stunning!

Slide downloads:

Smaller Download: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/239835/stephensalaskakeynote2.27.15Small.pdf (30MB)

BIG download: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/239835/stephensalaskakeynote2.27.15.pdf (300MB – why does Keynote create such huge PDFs?)

Categories: Library News

Changing People is Harder than Changing Technology

David Lee King - Tue, 2015-03-03 09:30

Just a follow-up thought to my post on strategic and technology planning. I’m sure y’all know this, but guess what? The technology planning and implementation is the easy part.

The hard part is the people.

Here’s an example of what I mean: Last year, my library’s biggest technology project was our RFID/Self Check project. It included tagging every item in the collection with an RFID tag and installing eleven self check kiosks throughout the building.

The technology part was easy – we worked with our vendors to make sure the kiosks worked, the new RFID gates went up, and the RFID tagging stations worked.

The hard part was “everything else,” which included:

  • planning a bunch of RFID tagging teams and schedules (we closed for a week and staff did the tagging)
  • rethinking customer flow in our circulation lobby and around the building
  • teaching our customers the “new way to check out”
  • Working through a new process for our technical services and circulation departments

And I’m sure I’m forgetting something. Has the technology been flawless? No – it’s technology. Something WILL go wrong.

But the “people” part – that affects everyone. You want to make sure the technology parts are done right. But also make certain to get the most important parts of your project right, too. The people parts.

Image by Jonny Wikins

Categories: Library News

Join LITA’s Imagineering IG at ALA Annual

LITA Blog - Tue, 2015-03-03 08:00

Editor’s note: This is guest post by Breanne Kirsch.

During the upcoming 2015 ALA Annual Conference, LITA’s Imagineering Interest Group will host the program “Unknown Knowns and Known Unknowns: How Speculative Fiction Gets Technological Innovation Right and Wrong.” A panel of science fiction and fantasy authors will discuss their work and how it connects with technological developments that were never invented and those that came about in unimagined ways. Tor is sponsoring the program and bringing authors John Scalzi, Vernor Vinge, Greg Bear, and Marie Brennan. Baen Books is also sponsoring the program by bringing Larry Correia to the author panel.

John Scalzi wrote the Old Man’s War series and more recently, Redshirts, which won the 2013 Hugo Award for Best Novel. Vernor Vinge is known for his Realtime/Bobble and Zones of Thought Series and a number of short fiction stories. Greg Bear has written a number of series, including Darwin, The Forge of God, Songs of Earth and Power, Quantum Logic, and The Way. He has also written books for the Halo series, short fiction, and standalone books, most recently, War Dogs as well as the upcoming novels Eternity and Eon. Marie Brennan has written the Onyx Court series, a number of short stories, and more recently the Lady Trent series, including the upcoming Voyage of the Basilisk. Larry Correia has written the Monster Hunter series, Grimnoir Chronicles, Dead Six series, and Iron Kingdoms series. These authors will consider the role speculative fiction plays in fostering innovation and bringing about new ideas.

Please plan to attend the upcoming ALA Annual 2015 Conference and add the Imagineering Interest Group program to your schedule! We look forward to seeing you in San Francisco.

Breanne A. Kirsch is the current Chair of the Imagineering Interest Group as well as the Game Making Interest Group within LITA. She works as a Public Services Librarian at the University of South Carolina Upstate and is the Coordinator of Emerging Technologies. She can be contacted at bkirsch@uscupstate.edu or @breezyalli.

Categories: Library News

The Nightingale

I’ve written about my regard for Kristin Hannah‘s novels before. The last one I read and reviewed was Night Road, and we also reviewed Fly Away in 2013. Hannah has a way with contemporary family stories. She writes deeply emotional women’s fiction with great characters, usually facing loss or tragedy. This year she brings those elements to historical fiction for the first time.

The Nightingale takes place in France during World War II. It follows the women (and children) left behind after the German invasion, after the men went to war, many to POW camps. There are so many truly great novels that take place in this time and place. I think of Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky or last year’s All the Light We Cannot See. What I like about The Nightingale is its accessibility and appeal. It involves two sisters, the younger an impetuous older teenager who joins the resistance. At first she does it out of defiance and boredom. But she matures, and holds to her course even after she realizes how much she is risking–even losing the great love of her life.

I was occasionally frustrated by a lack of detail (I wanted to know more about day-to-day life in France at this time) or because the author sometimes skips weeks or whole seasons from one chapter to the next. At the same time, both keep the action and the emotional arc of her characters moving forward at a good pace. Again, an advantage for most teen readers. So I wholeheartedly recommend this for school libraries and other teen collections.

HANNAH, Kristin. The Nightingale. 448p. St. Martin’s. Feb. 2015. Tr $27.99. ISBN 9780312577223. LC 2014033303.  

Hannah is known for her popular contemporary novels; with The Nightingale she extends her range into historical fiction. This is the story of two sisters who come of age during the World War II Nazi occupation of France. Viann Mauriac is the responsible one; she lives in the Loire Valley countryside near the small village of Carriveau with her husband Antoine and daughter, Sophie. Viann’s younger sister Isabelle Rossignol is the flighty one, always running away from school. Their father returned from the first world war damaged, unable to love, leaving them to take care of each other. After the German occupation of Paris, Isabelle, still in her teens, throws herself into the resistance, eventually leading grounded British and American airmen again and again over the Pyrenees to safety in Spain. She also falls in love with a fellow resistance fighter, and recklessly brings danger to her father and sister. Meanwhile, Viann does everything she can to keep her daughter safe after Antoine becomes a prisoner of war and a high-ranking German officer is billeted in their home. A contemporary framing device adds suspense and mystery to the fates of the sisters and the people they love, in a story that highlights the unsung women of the French resistance. This is women’s fiction at its most affecting, and teens looking for a romantic, suspenseful, and heartrending read will not be able to put it down. VERDICT While not as literary as other World War II favorites, such as The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer (Knopf, 2010) or All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (Scribner, 2014), this is a deeply emotional, fast-paced reading experience.—Angela Carstensen, Convent of the Sacred Heart, New York City

Categories: Library News

Miracles and mercy : a novel /

New At the Library - Sat, 2015-02-28 10:33

    ISBN: 9781634524582
    Author: Snow, Arianna

Categories: Library News

Blood infernal /

New At the Library - Sat, 2015-02-28 10:33

    ISBN: 9780062403698
    Author: Rollins, James, 1961-

Categories: Library News

A touch of stardust /

New At the Library - Sat, 2015-02-28 10:33

    ISBN: 9780385539050
    Author: Alcott, Kate

Categories: Library News

The homesman /

New At the Library - Sat, 2015-02-28 10:33

    ISBN: 9781555842352
    Author: Swarthout, Glendon, 1918-1992

Categories: Library News

My sunshine away : a novel /

New At the Library - Sat, 2015-02-28 10:33

    ISBN: 9780399169526
    Author: Walsh, M. O.

Categories: Library News

Unbroken : a World War II story of survival resilience and redemption /

New At the Library - Sat, 2015-02-28 10:33

    ISBN: 9780812987119
    Author: Hillenbrand, Laura

Categories: Library News

Obsession in death /

New At the Library - Sat, 2015-02-28 10:33

    ISBN: 9780399170874
    Author: Robb, J. D., 1950-

Categories: Library News

Kelly Hart and Hallman LLP migrates To SydneyEnterprise, Lucidea's next generation library system

Library Technology Reports - Fri, 2015-02-27 19:31
(February 26, 2015). Lucidea announce that the law firm of Kelly Hart and Hallman LLP will migrate to SydneyEnterprise, Lucidea's powerful new library automation system.
Categories: Library News

Biblionix outranks all in Purchasing/Budgeting survey from LibraryWorks, Inc.

Library Technology Reports - Fri, 2015-02-27 19:31
(February 26, 2015). Biblionix, a leading provider of automation solely for public libraries, today announced that its Apollo integrated library system (ILS) has topped LibraryWorks' (http://libraryworks.com/) massive “2015 Library Purchasing Survey” in the IT/Automation category. The survey ranked 46 such companies.
Categories: Library News

Civica announces Spydus 10, cloud based integrated solution for libraries

Library Technology Reports - Fri, 2015-02-27 16:29
(February 27, 2015). Civica announced the upcoming web-based library management, discovery, digital asset management and archives solution, Spydus10. Due for public release in April 2015, the first release of Spydus10 comprises a complete suite of web-based applications that will follow the intuitive workflows that Spydus is known for. Spydus10 will have a refreshed interface for both staff and library patrons, and increased functionality aligned to Civica's commitment to staying relevant with the evolving needs of libraries.
Categories: Library News

Librarians: We Open Access

LITA Blog - Fri, 2015-02-27 07:00

Open Access (storefront). Credit: Flickr user Gideon Burton

In his February 11 post, my fellow LITA blogger Bryan Brown interrogated the definitions of librarianship. He concluded that librarianship amounts to a “set of shared values and duties to our communities,” nicely summarized in the ALA’s Core Values of Librarianship. These core values are access, confidentiality / privacy, democracy, diversity, education and lifelong learning, intellectual freedom, preservation, the public good, professionalism, service, and social responsibility. But the greatest of these is access, without which we would revert to our roots as monastic scriptoriums and subscription libraries for the literate elite.

Bryan experienced some existential angst given that he is a web developer and not a “librarian” in the sense of job title or traditional responsibilities–the ancient triad of collection development, cataloging, and reference. In contrast, I never felt troubled about my job, as my title is e-learning librarian (got that buzzword going for me, which is nice) and as I do a lot of mainstream librarian-esque things, especially camping up front doing reference or visiting classes doing information literacy instruction.

Meme by Michael Rodriguez using Imgflip

However, I never expected to become manager of electronic resources, systems, web redesign, invoicing and vendor negotiations, and hopefully a new institutional repository fresh out of library school. I did not expect to spend my mornings troubleshooting LDAP authentication errors, walking students through login issues, running cost-benefit analyses on databases, and training users on screencasting and BlackBoard.

But digital librarians like Bryan and myself are the new faces of librarianship. I deliver and facilitate electronic information access in the library context; therefore, I am a librarian. A web developer facilitates access to digital scholarship and library resources. A reference librarian points folks to information they need. An instruction librarian teaches people how to find and evaluate information. A cataloger organizes information so that people can access it efficiently. A collection developer selects materials that users will most likely desire to access. All of these job descriptions–and any others that you can produce–are predicated on the fundamental tenet of access, preferably open, necessarily free.

Democracy, diversity, and the public good is our vision. Our active mission is to open access to users freely and equitably. Within that mission lie intellectual freedom (open access to information regardless of moralistic or political beliefs), privacy (fear of publicity can discourage people from openly accessing information), preservation (enabling future users to access the information), and other values that grow from the opening of access to books, articles, artifacts, the web, and more.

The Librarians (Fair use – parody)

By now you will have picked up on my wordplay. The phrase “open access” (OA) typically refers to scholarly literature that is “digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions” (Peter Suber). But when used as a verb rather than an adjective, “open” means not simply the state of being unrestricted but also the action of removing barriers to access. We librarians must not only cultivate the open fields–the commons–but also strive to dismantle paywalls and other obstacles to access. Recall Robert Frost’s Mending Wall:

Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offense.
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That wants it down.’ I could say ‘Elves’ to him…

Or librarians, good sir. Or librarians.

Categories: Library News

Inside the art studio : a guided tour of 37 artists' creative spaces /

New At the Library - Thu, 2015-02-26 10:19

    ISBN: 9781440336980

Categories: Library News

Birthday cakes : 50 traditional and themed cakes for fun and festive birthdays /

New At the Library - Thu, 2015-02-26 10:19

    ISBN: 9781629146928
    Author: Jensen, Janne,

Categories: Library News

The secrets of midwives [sound recording] /

New At the Library - Thu, 2015-02-26 10:19

    ISBN: 9781427252395
    Author: Hepworth, Sally

Categories: Library News

New name for Reed Elsevier: RELX Group

Library Technology Reports - Thu, 2015-02-26 07:19
(February 25, 2015). From February 25, ownership of all Reed Elsevier businesses, subsidiaries and financing activities below the two listed parent companies, Reed Elsevier PLC and Reed Elsevier NV, has been transferred to a new single group entity. This entity has been named RELX Group plc. RELX Group plc will continue to be owned by Reed Elsevier PLC, the London listing vehicle, and Reed Elsevier NV, the Amsterdam listing vehicle, although we will be asking shareholders at the Annual General Meeting to change their names to RELX PLC and RELX NV respectively.
Categories: Library News

The Sacrifice by Joyce Carol Oates

Considering that it is based on a police case from almost 30 years ago, it is astonishing how much currency Joyce Carol Oates’s new novel has. A black teen is found beaten and apparently raped, naming only “white cops” as the perpetrators before lapsing into silence. The ensuing polarized reactions on the parts of the black and white communities of the teen’s town sound eerily similar to the conversations (or non-conversations) that have been raging in this country over the past two years in response to the deaths of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, and Trayvon Martin (two years ago, today). Blaming the victim, blaming all whites, blaming black family values, conflicting reports of what really happened: we have seen all these reactions in abundance, and at least according to Oates, they were almost identical to the responses to Tawana Brawley’s rape allegations in 1987.

When last I wrote about Oates, I said that readers who chose to could ignore her gender politics and focus on her deft story telling. This time out, I don’t think that’s possible. Every page of this novel demands to be read through the prism of race and gender and American values. Nevertheless, the story Oates has to tell is compulsively readable, and she handles a number of narrative tricks with her usual deft hand. This is an astonishing novel from an author who shouldn’t really be astonishing us any more.

*OATES, Joyce Carol. The Sacrifice. 309p. Ecco. Jan. 2015. Tr $26.99. ISBN 9780062332974. LC 2014052422.

After briefly describing the central event of her powerful new novel—a 15-year-old girl named Sybilla Frye is found tied up in a basement, beaten, and apparently raped—Oates quickly expands the work’s focus to the impact of the crime on the girl’s New Jersey community, and eventually the nation. Sybilla remains largely uncommunicative with doctors and police—beyond a vague accusation that “white cops” raped her—leaving the community, and readers, to make their own decisions. Soon, a prominent Black minister and his attorney brother get involved in the case, at first merely drumming up support for Sybilla, but eventually taking the entire case into their hands and even accusing specific individuals not originally named by Sybilla. Oates manages this expanding campaign (or “Crusade,” as the Reverend has it) with expert narrative skill, moving deftly among the characters, from Sybilla and her mother to the Reverend and his brother to Sybilla’s incredibly disturbed stepfather, and other community members. The seeming timeliness of this novel is made somewhat depressing by the fact that it is a reimagining of a true case from 1987—that of Tawana Brawley, whose rape allegations briefly made national news and merited a mention in Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing. That case was never fully resolved, with opinions about Brawley’s veracity still debated. Oates uses her poetic license to resolve some of the issues involved, but the heart of the issue—the distrust between poor black communities and their white police departments remains. VERDICT: A powerful novel which should give teens much to ponder and compare to current events.—Mark Flowers, John F. Kennedy Library, Vallejo, CA

Categories: Library News


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