Rethinking Resource Sharing (NWILL 2008)

September 23, 2008

The North Western Interlibrary Loan and Resource Sharing Conference at the Portland Community College–Sylvania campus this year had about 200 people; I was pleasantly surprised how big it was. I heard a lot of techniques and ideas that I want to think about some more.

On Sept. 18, 2008 , Brenda Bailey-Hainer (CEO of BCR) and Gina Perschini (Networking Consultant of Idaho State Libraries) give us an interesting presentation about the Rethinking Resource Sharing initiative.

Some interesting questions:

  1. Bookburro-like tool they are developing: GoGetter. I want to look into bookburro a little more. Unclear whether it is smart enough to look for any book or to look for just books on book vending sites like Amazon.
  2. Why are we not loaning media items? If it is because of their cost, we loan books that are more expensive all the time…  Many libraries loan their media to other libraries, but there are some who still don’t. Others only loan to special consortia. One of the insightful challenges from the audience to this open-media concept that went unanswered was that their library does not loan media because the patron can rent it from Netflix or a local rental store for a lot less than we loan for. This is definitely true.
  3. Why is it harder to get a library card than to rent a car? I rented a vehicle for the conference and all I needed was my valid driver’s license and a credit card. For most public libraries, a new resident must provide a valid address as well as some kind of picture ID. For new move-ins, they usually don’t get any mail with their name on it for some time. They have to wait to get a card. The big question of the session: why can I rent a $20,000 car but I can’t borrow $100 worth of your used books without a local address?
  4. Why not charge alternative users (community, business, etc) instead of just refusing service? This one really is connected with the other two thoughts above. Instead of saying no, why not charge a fee and say yes? With new residents, why not take a valid credit card number instead of address verification? People give out their CC# all the time on the web, why should the library be any different? For interlibrary loaning media, could we not charge patrons a comparable price to rentals?

My notes are below:

  • Introduction to the Rethinking Resource Sharing Initiative
  • Why?
    • expectations are changing based on non-library experience (online shopping, Google, economics, self-service, etc)
    • library funding
  • Goals
    • Focus on user experience rather than staff tasks
    • vendor neutral–we want it to not depend on one particular vendor
    • global context
    • broad definition of resource sharing
      • ill
      • consortial borrowing
      • reference services: these requests result in ILL sometimes
      • digital services: these deliver info to users too
      • delivery: email, delivery to their library or their home?
  • User needs
    • majority of surveyed patrons gave a turnaround time expectation: 3-5 days
      • 70% staff turnaround time expectation: 1-2 weeks
  • Interoperability
    • complex process (authentication, circ systems, ILL software, national catalogs, etc); many of us have to go system to system manually
      • users assume all of these things should be linked and talk to each other
    • GoGetter Project (Mozilla browser extension)
      • user clicks on the browser button to search where an item is available to purchase or borrow a resource
        • provider
        • delivery/loan terms
        • format
        • price
        • time to arrival (when could they get this item?)
      • user then selects an option to get the item
      • the button would work with libraries and websites with bibliographies, as well as purchasing vendors like Amazon
    • Where are we with the GoGetter?
      • working prototype
      • working on open source sign offs
      • many online book sellers prohibit you from taking information from their sites and displaying
      • another option that has a similar function to our GoGetter:
  • Policies
    • Manifesto for Rethinking Resource Sharing: what do we think the user wants from us?
    • “Cast off your policies and expose your resources”
    • user should be able to get what s/he wants on the user’s terms with as few hurdles as possible
    • Fewer restrictions
      • if 600 libraries own it how many will actually loan it if it is A/V?
    • Users can choose from options
      • method of delivery
      • fulfillment type: loan, copy, digital copy, or purchase
    • Global Access
      • use both formal and informal networking agreements
      • lowest barrier to fulfillment
      • do we loan to other countries? do we borrow from other countries
    • Share resources from all types of cultural institutions
      • libraries
      • archives
      • museums
      • expertise of all types utilized
    • Reference service facilitates sharing
      • use reference expertise to aid fulfillment
      • no findable object should be totally unattainable
      • when we cannot fill the request is the user referred back to the subject selector to find other avenues for finding the information or similar resources?
    • Offer service for a fair price rather than refusing service (making sure it is competitive with commercial alternative
      • strive to achieve services that are not more expensive than commercial services
    • Everyone can be a library user
      • Registration should be as easy as signing up for a commercial web service (is it as easy to get a library card as it is to join Netflix?)
        • no local drivers license
        • no local mail (new address)
        • none of these? no library card
        • if I was not a librarian, would I return?
        • maybe there is a fee attached…maybe I give you a credit card as a backup (they have given it to Netflix…why not the library?)
      • let’s make it easier to get a library card
      • let’s make the library card a welcome to the new location/town
      • Brenda Comment: I can rent a car for $20000 with a credit card and a drivers license…but I can’t borrow $100 worth of books from my local library?
  • Delivery
    • Home delivery
      • books by mail was the old term for this
        • many designed for home-bound patrons but others have no stipulation
      • some offer service to all patrons with a fee of $3.00 or so; others offer the service for free
      • Topeka and Shawnee County Public (KA)
        • user place holds online and the item is delivered
        • in 2006 they delivered 140,000 books for about $1.50/book
        • Benefits:
          • saves space
          • saves staff time
          • no need to build a local branch building
          • saves patron gas to not go all the way to the library to drop off
        • drop boxes all around the city
      • Orange County Library System’s MAYL
        • started in 1974
        • 700,000 in 2007; total circulation 1M; large portion of their circ
        • cost? $1.8M which is 3.3% of their overall budget
    • Print on demand
      • Internet Archive
        • no longer need to ILL old books (pre-1923) now because these books are now being digitized;
        • users can print out the book on demand
    • Future
      • thinking of a national brand for home delivery so users will recognize the service in different places around the country
  • Next for the initiative
    • $1000 cash value for new resource sharing implementation
    • start a discussion
    • take action: start a revolution in your library

Getting Involved in ACRL (ALA 2008)

July 28, 2008

While at ALA I was able to go to the ACRL 101 session Saturday Morning.

The first part of the session discussed ways to get more involved in ACRL. One of the ways that I can really support is to read their blogs. I find I read almost every post from ACRLog because they are always so thoughtful and informative. The second part of the session was centered on how to negotiate ALA annual. Here are my notes from the speaker’s comments on ACRL and negotiating ALA Annual:

How to get involved at ACRL

  • people who are successful are attracted to other people who are successful
  • We want to learn
    • we have f2f
      • conferences
      • scholarships
    • electronic learning
      • on-point chats
      • spring board speakers
      • volunteers for podcasts/webinars are welcome
  • want to advance
  • want to have an impact
    • blogs
    • best practices in C&RL News (C&RL is the #1 publication outlet in our field)
    • 25 discussion lists
    • volunteer in over 50 different committees (New Member Wiki has info)
    • mentoring opportunities
    • enter your profile and photo on Meet our Members website
    • form an interest group
    • effective practices clearing house
    • become a legislative advocate

Advice for New Librarians at ALA Annual Conference

  • acronym list
  • map
  • you can attend anything that is not closed
    • awards committees/nominating committees are closed
  • still go to committee meetings
    • listen to their issues
    • find out where you might fit in
  • find time for yourself
    • personal health
    • take a swim in your hotel pool
    • visit local attractions
  • take notes: so much information
  • have business cards handy
    • jot down what you talked about for later
  • how do you choose what you do?
    • programs
      • try something you have never heard of; new perspective
    • exhibit halls
      • just take the free stuff you will actually use
      • use UPS/FedEx if you can’t fit everything in your luggage
      • you will also find chocolate
      • of course you can talk with the reps from publishers and vendors
    • networking
      • talk to people on the shuttle
    • tours
    • discussions
    • poster sessions
      • take the handouts so you can think about it later
  • make a schedule…then abandon it
    • pick out things that interest you…but sometimes you may not be right in your choice
    • don’t be afraid to walk out and go to another session
  • don’t stress
    • you may miss something but you can always email who offered the program and get info from them

Lincoln-Douglas Debate: 150th Anniversary Celebration

May 16, 2008

Samuel Wheeler at Lincoln Studies reports on a three-day program held by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum to mark the 150th anniversary of the Lincoln-Douglas debate and Lincoln’s House Divided speech.

What a cool way to celebrate history in the library!

photo originally uploaded by 4ever30something

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Publishing in Library Science: ULA/MPLA 2008

May 9, 2008

Peter KrausPeter Kraus, from the University of Utah Library, presented a fascinating discussion on how to start publishing in library science.

Favorite tips:

Start with reviewing articles and grants; you can see over time what makes a good article/grant proposal to help you in your own future compositions.

Look at the Journal of Library Philosophy and Practice–particularly welcoming to first-time writers.

Here are my notes:

What do you mean I have to write?

Do I even have something to say?

Publishing within librarianship or any field in academia should be a supportive venture

You do have something to say—we all have a voice.

Ave academic librarian publishes two articles in a career—this makes it so there is not a really strong understanding of why we are faculty

Publication is a yardstick to measure productivity

Helps with external funding (more research, more likely to receive research grant)

Rachel Singer: Librarian’s guide to writing for publication (2004)

New ideas

New projects; case studies

New programs (even ones that were not successful)

New collaborations

Trends affecting your library (internal and external)

Rule of three—if you have an idea this is a progression:




Writing happens on our own time

8am: 1 hour a day to write/research/edit (nothing happens in the morning)

Or, professional leave (every other Friday; spring break, etc)

Getting Started

Read what others have written: good, bad and ugly

Be objective

With the Idea

Start writing asap—just jot down your ideas immediately

Get your source lined up early

If you are dealing with a publishing deadline make sure ILL is done early for you

Keep a list—what’s current, what can wait

Some publication projects are more urgent than others; can your topic wait a year while you work on another publication that is more current and necessary today? (good example: historical information—this does not change)

Writing style: Concise Clear and Complete

Remember the reader

Begin with main point

Be concise

Be unemotional

Use clear, specific language

Write in a friendly professional style (not so cold)

User active voice whenever possible

Move from known information to new information as quickly as possible – don’t bore the reader

Avoid complicated sentences

Use correct grammar, spelling and punctuation

How to begin publishing

Book reviews (journals are always looking for book reviewers)—some libraries do not see this as a valid publication outlet

Journals that mentor new writers

Journal clubs/faculty writing groups/Grand Rounds

Start a writing group where you get your peers opinion before you submit it to a journal

Grand Rounds: formal presentations to your colleagues in the library

Grant reviewers (federal, state, non-profit)—National Endowment for Humanities, NEA, other state institutions

Review grant proposals will help you see good and bad grants

Writing for publication course for graduate students in a university

Many universities have this type of course

Writing Scientific Writing course

H-net: CFP (call for paper/presentation)

Various list-servs by disciplines

Calls for papers and book reviews

Age-old questions

Do you focus on one key journal

Do you focus on many journals

Publishing in LIS journals

Publishing outside the field

Two most important points

Quality is everything—journal article is you

Do something you are interested in or passionate about


University writing labs

Often ignored by faculty

Not for content but for organization and structure issues

What can happen if you get published?

Invitations to write

Invitations to present at conferences

Where to start looking to publish

Journal of Library and Philosophy of Practice—this is my favorite articles

4-6 weeks from time of submission to response; 3-6 month for publications

For your first or your 50th article this is a wonderful journal

Articles from all over the world

Portal: Libraries and the Academy

Very supportive mentoring program

Stand by your values

Elsevier = good to writers; bad to librarians—are you looking at this as a librarian or a writer?

Open access = good

Institutional repositories


If a journal does not allow you to keep copyright, move on and find another or negotiate (even hard-core contracts are negotiable)

If your dean is advocating for SPARC – open access follow the example


15% acceptance rate so this is a big deal but there are different avenues

College and research libraries news

Look at what they are looking for—look at their call for papers

College and research libraries

Journal of academic librarianship

Some like it others don’t (Elsevier bought this journal)

Look at their website

Always looking for book reviewers

Utah Academy of sciences, arts and letters

great for discipline research, hard sciences, history, British Literature

practically guaranteed a presentation if you are accepted

published abstract even if the article is not published (nine different indexes in different fields)


Q: reviews: do they provide a text they would like a review for? Or do you read something, compose and submit before you know if they want it?

They will send you a list and you select a book you would like to review

How likely is it to get published without a PhD in a discipline journal

Partner with professors but make sure the work is equally distributed

Journal of library philosophy and practice

Even though it is online it is peer-reviewed, index in 6 different journals,

Q: it is not outside faculty it is library faculty who are not letting us publish in online journals

Just tell your provost: you are asking for peer-reviewed journals and that is where I am at” show them the acceptance rates and show comparable numbers with other academic journals

Get a letter from the publisher: your article is getting published and it is a peer-reviewed journal (if your publication will not come out till next year)

Q: when you are thinking about something to write about or on and trying to decide on qualitative or quantitative studies;

Your decision; check for what has been done; if it is a NEW idea, do it

Libraries in Second Life: ULA/MPLA 2008

May 9, 2008

Libraries in Second LifeSteve Harris [Second Life avatar: Stolvano Barbosa] who blogs at Collections 2.0 and Susan MacMurdo [Librainian Infinity], both from Utah State University’s Library, presented a very interesting and well-attended session on Second Life and how libraries can use it to promote services and network with other librarians.

Here are my notes:

What is Second Life?

Virtual world: Three dimensional environment; persistent;

Second Life is not a game but a society with a fully-developed economy

50000 users/day

Susan–four types of users in virtual worlds:

Achievers: building and selling

Explorers: find bugs or limits of the game

Socializers: empathy and communication; virtual world is just a backdrop for just socializing

Killers: imposition of stress or harassment

Cost? I have played for a year and have not had to pay anything



Certain kind of building technologies; Linden Labs created ‘prims’ (primitives) basic shapes and building blocks and then you stretch or twist their shape


900M sq meters of virtual land; regions: sims = 256 m/ side (16 acre of land); there are 14,000 of these regions; sometimes called ‘islands’

How are libraries using it?

Alliance Library System out of Illinois; they own Info Island Archipelago; several 1000s of visitors/day

Info Island; 40 volunteers 80 hours/week; noon-10p PST busiest time;

See 300 patrons in a week with 150 questions/week

Common questions: how does second life work

Like in real life: where’s the bathroom question

Point of reference is not just to judge the questions but to be there to answer the questions

Displays specific to interests (what are the usage stats on these? Going up?)

Distance Learning

250 Universities conducting classes and research in SL

Disaster simulations

Voice or Text chat available

Virtual office hours for professors


Collections in SL have not really reached their full potential; books and other items are clunky to use; most link out to another website for an online view

Newer SL clients have an internal browser so this may become more seamless

Books that are note cards

Plain text window

Books made of a prim so they exist as a 3D object but they are kind of clunky to use

Some books are wearable (you look over your own shoulder to read the book) others have a heads-up display you can see in another window over your SL view

Because it is a social environment a lot of libraries have had an online discussion about books in the virtual environment

Had another book discussion on Beowulf and Grendel (John Gardner);


Meeting space for those who are geographically distant; 130 people were registered (most regions have a limit on the number of avatars that can go to the island—so this is good for small-scale conferences)

Space for vendor booths even

Challenges and Opportunities

Reliability: it is hard for 50,000 to be on at the time (big lags)

Archiving: a lot of the stuff is very ephemeral

not interoperable: you cannot be in different worlds; you need to make a separate avatar

Geography/collaboration: you can meet people you would never meet

Creativity: many people can be artists, photographers, etc in real life but they can feel very empowered in SL to do those things



Free and anonymous (risk-free)

Many tutorials to work through the environment

Persistent nature; always something happening—reference services 24 hours/day


Digital divide

Not totally intuitive

Funding: difficult to commit local funds to serve a global community

Scheduling: no way to overcome time zone challenges

Burnout: high turnover of virtual reference librarians at Info Island

We need to go where people are learning; great networking environment for librarians; familiarize ourselves now because virtual world services will become even more prevalent—we need to know—a lot of our future customers are in virtual worlds;


Q: what do you need money for?

Fancy clothes or hairstyle; furniture and apartments;

Q: mistakes to avoid

Since it is anonymous it’s okay

Steve: make mistakes; but just as a warning: there are unsavory places in SL

Q: how can you make libraries in SL open but protect licensed content?

Steve: not now; it is a rampant copyright violation right now

Susan: libraries are more about services and connection than about collections and access in SL

Q: can someone edit your material after you create it?

Steve: no you can control that as long as you have rights to it

Q: how labor intensive was it?

Steve: we were utilizing places already built; it is fairly stressful conducting a discussion via text chat—this means at least three different simultaneous conversations and threads to keep track of

Q: is there any fraud or illegal factor in money here?

Steve: good question; avatars gave a guy money in a bank and then vanished; it is not a rampant problem but there are many people that are doing shady things

Q: how long did it take to do this motion—dancing and clapping?

Susan: most of these are pre-done; sometimes it is an interactive facilitator in world;

Steve: you can actually write the script for dance moves or hair; then they sell their code to another person

Q: has anyone been caught for copyright violations?

Steve: no case that I know of so far

Jim Rettig, ALA President-elect ULA/MPLA Keynote

May 9, 2008

Jim RettigI went to the ULA/MPLA conference in Salt Lake City last week and wanted to post some of my notes from the conference. I figured a good place to start was Jim Rettig‘s Keynote, “Creating Connections–Ideas for Our Association’s Future.”


Rettig speaks about how he will be a champion this year for libraries in general; he feels that his main duty as ALA president will be library advocacy. He also spoke about librarianship as a profession and how we need to redefine our identity as librarians.

Favorite quote

“What if they started [ALA] from scratch? If there were no ALA but we needed one, what would it look like? It would be filled with small groups of people who share interests, meeting and connecting.”

Here are my complete notes from the meeting:

We have a lot to offer; libraries help people to prosper; we provide services that help people lead successful lives;

Still the only agency in the United States that can provide life-long learning from cradle to grave;

SKILLs ACT; one of my main duties as ALA president is advocacy for libraries; we can enhance our advocacy efforts in many ways; SKILLs: every school within its district will sponsor a school library specialist; if schools don’t have that media specialist the students go to the public library; but the public library can’t put librarians in the classrooms; they can’t make contacts with teachers in the lunch room;

Mesa Arizona incident: every teacher librarian will be eliminated in 3 years and replace with an aid; Spokane Washington mom’s formed a grass roots movement for funding for school libraries; they formed alliances and ALA gave them great data about school libraries from their efforts

Advocacy for libraries

ALA issues and advocacy on the top nav bar from

Click on take action: with your zip code you will have the contact info for all of your representatives, local, state and national; launched at end of annual conference of ALA; meant for people who are not librarians but love their libraries

We have a lot in common but we have not promoted it with each other; instead we have competed with each other; we need to come together and make the case for libraries; when you are going into a recession and people are going to need job finding tools it is the wrong time to cut funding for any community college or library

For the 17,000 who participated in an ALA survey the direction of ALA most voted for was library advocacy far and away;

People who have never experienced good library services have no idea what they are missing; our biggest challenge is getting people’s attention; once they have experienced them they ought to be booked;

Who are we

Who are we collectively and who do we want to become? mostly female and mostly white; also mostly and aging profession (not this room I don’t think); AARP research said 60% will continue to work either for money or for enjoyment post-retirement;

We have competition for people’s attention: facebook, yahoo groups MySpace, blogger;

We used to have a different publication model; now you can set up a blog and publish your ideas and get more than two comments in one day

Social networking instead of conference attendance;

We can’t just count on ALA membership for contribution and collaboration; we have to get their attention and get them hooked by the benefits this association this has to offer; ALA online community software has been described as “less-than intuitive” but we are working on this;

What if they started from scratch? If there were no ALA but we needed one, what would it look like? It would be filled with small groups of people who share interests, meeting and connecting; people want more than one home in the library world because they have more than one interest;

Craigslist: one place where you can look at stuff; it is almost ugly it is so simple but it is effective: we are working on something like this

Online salon and conversations with ALA leaders and members

Juried grassroots at 2009 annual conference: grass roots groups of members (not just people who are on committees) we want people with fresh ideas; there will be a call for these proposals

Unconferences: group of people coming to an online environment to just talk about a topic

Virtual poster sessions opened up to a bigger audience

Diversity: we cant solve this in on year; but we can work on it; scholarships for undergraduates for a day at the 2009 annual conference; show them we are a lot more than books

YouTube questions for the Mid Winter Meeting; questions for the candidates: what do you want to do in the future?

Midwinter meeting: we will be at the point where a new President of the United States will take the oath of office; the national archives have reclassified some documents some dating from WWII; we need to find someone who will prompt the government to be more open.

First-Year Writing and Libraries

March 4, 2008

The ACRL blog has a guest post by Marilyn R. Pukkila who reports on some things she heard at the First-Year Experience Conference. While attending a presentation in which the speaker mentioned library instruction:

…the speaker asked, “And what do we think of the library presentation?” in a tone which obviously invited ridicule and criticism. One of the participants obligingly responded with a rude noise, and the presenter nodded and laughed along with others in the room…

I have always had a great response from students about the usefulness of instruction. Until our tools become as intuitive as Google, students and faculty can learn something new.

Marilyn continues:

Yes, my ego was a bit bruised, but I’m much more concerned with the messages that students are receiving from faculty about the useful/uselessness of librarians in the educational enterprise.

This is a real issue. I have felt on more than one occasion that the students who come to library instruction a little less than excited to learn are in the sections with First-Year Writing instructors who think library instruction is a waste of time or even who are resentful that we take time away from their class; however, if we are not helping the isntructors’ students I can’t really blame them.

For me the most effective library instruction sessions I’ve had or observed were those in which the librarian and the instructor met and discussed in detail what the learning outcomes were for the course as well as the instruction. Buy-in can be as simple as skipping a database that the instructor feels is less-effective. The other byproduct of those kinds of informal meetings with librarian and instructor is confidence: confidence in the librarian’s ability and in the value of library instruction. If the librarian shows a strong sense of capacity and professionalism in this pre-library instruction planning meeting, the FYW instructor is more likely to look forward to the instruction.