Friday, December 9, 2011

Libraries, Know Thy Boundaries

Surprise, surprise, OverDrive has hit the library airwaves again with the Friday's post from Librarian in Black and Ryan Claringbole from the Chesapeake Public Library (@librarianry on Twitter) regarding a noticeable discrepancy with title availability in OverDrive's Content Reserve (where libraries "purchase" downloadable materials).

Librarian In Black: OverDrive Has Different eBook Catalogs for Different Libraries

(Go read this - it is detailed and important and better than me trying to restate everything she already said so well.)

What it comes down to is that OverDrive is finally starting to obviously enforce some of those geographical restrictions by publishers that were rumored back earlier in the year. Remember this from Steve Potash's memo in regards to the HarperCollins restrictions? (emphasis mine)
In addition, our publishing partners have expressed concerns regarding the card issuance policies and qualification of patrons who have access to OverDrive supplied digital content. Addressing these concerns will require OverDrive and our library partners to cooperate to honor geographic and territorial rights for digital book lending, as well as to review and audit policies regarding an eBook borrower’s relationship to the library (i.e. customer lives, works, attends school in service area, etc.). I can assure you OverDrive is not interested in managing or having any say in your library policies and issues. Select publisher terms and conditions require us to work toward their comfort that the library eBook lending is in compliance with publisher requirements on these topics.
(Many thanks to Librarian by Day for having the full announcement on her website.)

Well, this is exactly what has happened in regards to Chesapeake Public Library, and you can bet it will be popping up in future contracts with OverDrive. The issue with geographic limitations is not new, if anyone has been up on the news from Europe from the last couple of years, both from a consumer and a library standpoint. In fact, according to a 2010 article from The Guardian, Potash is quoted as saying (emphasis mine):
Our system has established checks to ensure that libraries are providing ebooks only to those customers in their service area. We have always enforced proper geographic restrictions on the ebooks in our catalogue.
Yet, with as many libraries that have partnered with OverDrive over the last couple of years, surely if this were the case we would have heard about this topic long before now?  How many libraries offer cards to out-of-town or out-of-state patrons? How many systems offer "e-cards" which allow patrons outside their geographic region to access their resources? Are they seeing limits to what they can acquire from OverDrive?

We already know that OverDrive has started reworking contracts to be more restrictive and detailed, as per the Kansas State Library issue. Kansas was lucky, they had a contract that did allow them to move the purchased titles to their new vendor system. The newest contracts state specifically that we license this material, that we don't own it, and I am pretty sure it will not be transferred anywhere beyond OverDrive. Now, it seems likely there will be quite a few libraries that will not even be able to get them in the first place.

Academic libraries have been dealing with these types of restrictions and negotiations for years, and public libraries are finally starting to catch the long tail of dealing with contracts for popular electronic resources. Do we really know (yet) what we are getting ourselves into? Are we really asking the questions we need to ask, reading and understanding the contracts, their benefits and boundaries? OverDrive has already proven that they are not proactive about giving their "partners" the information they need, as most recently noted in the whole Penguin Kindle Book debacle. As Robin (@Tuphlos to Twitter) points out in Collection Reflection, "The problem is we have jumped into this marketplace without knowledge and we keep expecting other companies to take care of us."

We are LIBRARIANS - we are used to finding the answers. So check in with your administration about the services you offer (not just OverDrive). Make sure that if you are exploring acquiring digital content to talk to other libraries and library systems about their experiences. Read the contract before you sign it, and if you have a question about it, do not be afraid to ask it (The Collection Reflection post also notes legal resources for librarians). Ryan was brave enough to put his question out on Twitter; Sarah was engaged enough to expand on it and put it to the masses. We thrive on information, but there is a lot we need to find out before we put the pen to the dotted line. It is not enough to know what we can do with the resources we acquire; we need to know what we cannot do with them too.

Monday, November 28, 2011

OverDrive "Test Drive" Program (Right Now, There is Only One Car in the Lot)

OverDrive has announced the launch of its new "Test Drive" program, which allows libraries to sign up and get guided instructions and information from OverDrive on using ereaders. From their website:
OverDrive Test Drive is a program that enables your library to offer eBook devices for demonstration and lending. OverDrive provides guidelines, recommendations, best practices and promotional materials to help you successfully integrate eBook devices into your everyday services, all within publisher copyrights and library lending policies.
Libraries can sign up for the program for free and will be given particular materials (not ereader devices, libraries need to go buy those) from OverDrive to support either in-house demonstrations of the devices, training for library staff and patrons, or actual lending of devices for patrons.

Devices to be used with the Test Drive system will also be required to be compatible the library's ebook catalog, allow direct download via mobile browser or app, support copyright protection (aka DRM) and be compatible with the OverDrive accessibility program LEAP. Looking at their list of "Test Drive-approved" devices, there is only one: the Sony Reader Wi-Fi (Model PRS-T1).

What about those devices already in the libraries? It seems that OverDrive is stating that those are a bad idea. In fact, the FAQs provided specifically address this (bold emphasis mine):
Can library staff pre-load a device with titles, and then offer it for circulation?
No. To insure compliance with your eBook lending library, we urge each title to be checked out to an existing user or library card. This will avoid issues and concerns of publishers that the devices are being used to frustrate or circumvent approved lending models. This will also provide the best circulation and lending policy practices (number of titles per user checked out at one time, etc.).
Can we circulate a device that is not part of the OverDrive Test Drive program?
No. It is important that devices meet requirements set by publisher copyright permissions, and therefore, we urge you to only circulate devices that are Test Drive approved.
So, what I actually see here is not a new and innovative support system for training and lending of ereader devices, but a way for OverDrive to be able to demonstrate to publishers that they are supporting THEM and adhering to copyright and lending policies of ebooks. With Penguin's decision to pull out of library lending (then back in, then oh wait, only until the end of the year) and questions about the Amazon deal, OverDrive might need to appease publishers with more emphasis on policy, not access to materials. What does this mean for all of the libraries that are already circulating devices?

Anyway, libraries are already doing all of this test driving, aren't they? For those of us scrambling to keep up with the Kardashian-like fervor of ebooks, we have acquired devices, trained staff, done demonstrations and answered questions from patrons and libraries alike. We have accomplished all of this with our own research, our own questions, our own collaboration, our own funds. How does the Test Drive program actually assist libraries?

They are not giving us the devices, not really giving us any special tricks or tips on using them. I guess it could help those who have not jumped on the ebook wagon already, and gives more hand-holding (of the instruction and virtual kind) on getting ereaders in the libraries to try out. Do not look for special help with those approved devices though - OverDrive states in their FAQs that for any problems patrons may have with them, talk to the manufacturer - or the library. Plus, right now there is only one device that is approved for this program. With the restrictions for wireless downloads, we are not going to see the Nook or Kobo or older Sonys here, which many libraries already have. No Kindles either, as they will not be able to support the OverDrive LEAP program. How fast will devices actually be approved for Test Drive, given this?

Does anyone see any real benefits with this program, now or in the future? I am not sure that I do. With all the devices out there - ones that OverDrive touts on their compatibility pages - this just seems like a step backwards for instruction and recommendation.

Monday, November 21, 2011

New Penguin Ebooks No Longer Available From OverDrive (UPDATED)

This post has been updated to include links and further thoughts.

I was offline most of the weekend, but came back to discover that people are talking about missing Penguin titles. It seems there have been a lot of reports from patrons that use OverDrive that Penguin titles that were on hold in the Kindle format have disappeared off their waiting lists. Other reports are people received emails saying their title was available for checkout, only to log in and find the hold either completely missing or switched to an EPUB format. Titles that people insist were available in Kindle format until Friday are now just gone.

Checking our own catalog this morning, I ran an Advanced Search for Penguin USA in Kindle format - zero hits. Checking all other Penguin listings gave me the same results, except there do seem to be a couple titles under Penguin Adult/ePenguin Imprint that still have Kindle formats available, but that is two titles. TWO. TITLES.

That definitely does not include The Help.

No official reports have come either from OverDrive or from Penguin. Besides Twitter talk and threads on various Kindle sites, the I Love My Kindle blog has a short post musing the same questions. Hopefully one of the camps will speak up and let their customers - and our patrons - know exactly why this has happened, and if it is permanent.


The Digital Shift just published a post indicating that Penguin is taking the stand that "due to new concerns about the security of our digital editions, we find it necessary to delay the availability of our new titles in the digital format while we resolve these concerns with our business partners."

From OverDrive Library Blog:

"Last week Penguin sent notice to OverDrive that it is reviewing terms for library lending of their eBooks. In the interim, OverDrive was instructed to suspend availability of new Penguin eBook titles from our library catalog and disable “Get for Kindle” functionality for all Penguin eBooks. We apologize for this abrupt change in terms from this supplier. We are actively working with Penguin on this issue and are hopeful Penguin will agree to restore access to their new titles and Kindle availability as soon as possible."

So, does this mean that we are going to see all ebook formats for Penguin new titles disappear? Or, are we just no longer going to be able to purchase new ebook titles from them? So far, what we have bought are still in our catalog, and it looks like it is going to stay that way, according to all reports. However, access to additional copies, and other new Penguin titles, is going to cease. This will make four big publishers that do not allow library lending of their new (or any) titles. Add to this the 26-loan cap for HarperCollins, libraries are going to find longer queues for digital holds, and upset patrons wondering why we do not purchase any more copies or have these titles. Publishers are putting the burden on us to explain their industry practices to people who wonder why we can't just go online and purchase the same ebooks they do. OverDrive knew last week that Penguin had made this decision, yet chose to not inform their customers about this until Monday, after changes happened.

Libraries should not be the last in line for the information that affects so many. Who is going to the table now?

More Links:

Publishers Weekly - Penguin USA drops library access
Early Word - Penguin exits OverDrive pending evaluation
Melville House - Penguin pulls ebooks from libraries in apparent slap at Amazon
Smart Bitches, Trashy Books - Oh For Gods Sake: Penguin Disallows Digital Library Lending

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Ebooks: A Brief Fix On a Moving Target

On Friday I traveled to Northeastern University to attend a session put on by the Collection Development Interest Group (CDIG) of the ACRL - New England Chapter: "Ebooks: A Brief Fix On a Moving Target". This session highlighted short talks (20-25 minutes) from various people in the library world about a subject that is near and dear to our hearts - ebooks and how they affect libraries. While the sessions were for the benefit of academic librarians and staff, I was pleased to listen to it outside of the OverDrive-laden news I tend to have in my work (although OverDrive definitely came up).

These notes are gleaned from my thoughts and my tweets during the session (hashtag #CDIGebooks):

E-books: Intellectual Property Rights of Libraries and Library Patrons (Kyle Courtney, Manager, Resource Sharing and Faculty Information Delivery, Harvard Law School)

The concepts of intellectual property, first-sale doctrine and copyright is huge dealing with ebooks right now. While libraries are still looking at ebooks as physical books being purchased, publishers see the digital file as being licensed. Where does the truth lie? Libraries would not be able to lend without the stipulations of the first-sale doctrine, nor would used bookstores or used music stores be in business, thanks to the 1908 court case of Bobbs-Merrill  Co. vs. Straus. One interesting slide from Courtney was about piracy: consider theft does not equal piracy, and vice versa? Theft removes the object from its original place; piracy makes a copy (or tens or hundreds). If someone takes your car but returns it to the same place, has it actually been stolen? While I understand the broad thought this comes from, I am not sure I agree with it. Also highlighted was the OverDrive contract with the Kansas State Librarian, which has been on the forefront of libraries' minds in regards to contract review and changes and ownership of digital materials. Courtney stresses that everyone should read their contracts (libraries AND vendors).

Gluejar: Give Books to the World (Andromeda Yelton,

Ebooks are coming in various formats, supplied by various vendors, with multiplying devices. Add DRM, copyright and rights holders to that, it is enough to make any librarian's head spin. However, what if you could "unglue" the digital rights for a book from the rest? Yelton explains that Gluejar is looking to do that with While still pre-launch, the concept of would include purchasing the ebook rights for works from the right holders, fundraising (along the lines of Kickstarter) to cover the cost, then providing the ebook under a Creative Commons license. While attribution and non-derivative clauses will exist, this could be a good way for libraries to supplement the ebook demand at minimal costs. Authors could see the benefit of increased demand on backlist titles or for derivative works. I am looking forward to see how this project moves forward.

Patron-Driven Acquisitions: History and Best Practices. (David Swords, EBL)

PDA - such a strange term for a strange process. Patron Driven Acquisitions is a scalable way for smaller libraries to distribute funds for collection development. While many libraries are concerned that PDA will cause ill-advised buying, he notes that using a model such as acquisitions based on short-term loans of titles to regulate the purchase showed a marked decrease in print titles being acquired. Swords also talked about the contents of the De Gruyter title that is being released which highlights history and theory, plus practical use. I was intrigued to find out that one of the chapters was written by my former supervisor, Tom Corbett. He is currently the head of the library at Cushing Academy, which made major headlines by "throwing out its print collection for ebooks". The library does a lot more with ebooks than print, but still carries a print collection, although less than half of what was originally there.

A Change of Heart on Ebooks: A User’s Perspective (Greg Eow, British and American History Librarian, Yale University)

Eow never thought he would want to be an ebook user. He rarely had to use digital resources while getting his degree, so had been able to put them aside for texts. As an archivist, he finds pleasure in the written word, but more and more he is starting to believe that digital formats will overtake print formats, and librarians that insist on collecting print materials will become "rare book librarians". Eow discussed how he received his first ereader (a Kindle, present from his mom) and found that carrying it on a trip was much easier than trying to bring print copies of the reference materials he was reading. He is now purchasing many of the books he already owns in ebook format. However, he also thinks that the arguments that people have about the "killing of footnotes" by ebooks will not hold. Especially in the humanities, whether print or digital, people still need pagination, still need footnotes. Debates on the other side of the desire to still see print succeed, based on the love of paper, of bindings and type, seem to further illustrate it is not a content argument, but one of collectors. Thus, the idea that print materials will be "rare books" could still play out.

Issues in Current and Future E-book technology (Bob Boissy, Director, Network Sales, Springer)

Boissy loves ebooks, but recognizes the limits of e-ink, as shown by demonstrating the differences between veiwing an 14th century manuscript on an original Nook versus an iPad, Boissy shows that technology can bring a book to life on screen. Academic publishers have been on a fast track to digitization, in fact it has been a case of "DIGITIZE ALL THE THINGS" and deal with the ramifications later. A lot of backlist has been digitized; Springer has now been able to clear out most of their backlist print after digitizing with Google Books, and now keep to print-on-demand for their titles. Subscription packages for libraries are scrutinized as they know that libraries will not buy what they will not use. To keep libraries buying, the packages must drive usage, and publishers are on the proving end of that. Boissy also noted that publishers that have electronic journal subscriptions, then add ebooks to them, have seen an inflationary effect on the electronic journal usage. While reports say that the online catalog is still the top source for finding academic resources in the library, with search engines and other discovery platforms being introduced to libraries, the best way to find what you need is a moving target.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Catch Up: CPD23 17 & 19

Well, I lagged behind again, as it seems that CPD23 has ended, but my posts have not! Taking a look back at the topics missing:

Thing 17 - Prezi and Slideshare

I have only experienced these two in the role of watcher, not as a creator. I do have a Prezi account, however I have not had a project that I feel comfortable yet in attempting to try it out with? The enhanced abilities that you have with Prezi seem to make it a very useful way to present material that may focus a bit more on discussion than slides. Now that there is an import function to enhance PowerPoint slides and recreate the presentation, I may take apart one of mine as a trial run.

I have seen a lot of great presentations on Slideshare, but we keep most of our training materials in-house. Also, we do rely a lot more on webinar and hands-on training, so we do not have a multitude of presentations that need to be stored and shared in one place. However, I find it very useful both for learning and for gathering ideas.

Thing 19 - Reflection on Integration

We have covered a lot of social media and how it can assist professionally. I still need to fill in more detail on my LinkedIn page, have cleaned out my Google Reader feeds - especially in preparation for the upcoming changes, use Twitter both for knowledge gathering and receiving, and have started to feel more comfortable hearing my voice come out of the computer during web tutorials.

As I get ready to finish up CPD23 and reflect on how this project has inspired me to access more information technology, I am faced with deciding what will happen to this blog once I am finished. I originally started this because I wanted to separate my "professional" and "personal" posts a bit more, so that people strictly interested in my work did not have to wander through my posts on knitting and chickens. However, I have felt spread thin, and wonder if it is time to evaluate whether or not I will fold it all back into one blog. I hope that by the time I actually finish this course, I will have that answer.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Ebook Notes

Oh, do I have a lot to catch up on and finish finally for CPD23, but until then let me touch on the topics that have been on the forefront of my mind dealing with ebooks:

Kindle for Libraries is now available through OverDrive! Our member libraries were SO thrilled when this happened. It also gave me an excuse to finally buckle down and work with Jing for some tutorials on borrowing and returning ebooks on the device. These videos actually went up on our website, so feel free to take a look.

On the flip side, many are concerned about the ramifications that the amount of control Amazon has in the checkout and borrowing process, about patron privacy, and the usual fears about not keeping up with demand. Bobbi Newman at Librarian By Day says "We Got Screwed"; Library Journal had an editorial that it was a "triumph of practicality over principles". Many librarians, including me, think that Amazon already has their Kindle owners by the *ahem* device, so are patrons really thinking about what information is passed on or stored? Does that give us a license to not care either, or will it be even more important to educate our patrons and remind them we do support their privacy?

I know that in the Kindle Library of my Amazon account any books I borrow through OverDrive are archived there. On the plus side, this also facilitates the storage and retrieval of any notes or highlights if I borrow or buy the same title. On the negative side, how do I know it was a library book? It says it was a library book in big orange letters:

Now, I can delete these titles from my Kindle Library, but who is going to actually do that on a regular basis? Also, if I delete them, will that mean all my notes and highlights will be gone if I do decide to purchase or borrow the book again? Will anyone think it is worth the trouble?

This was a small part of the discussion in yesterday's Library Journal/School Library Journal Ebook Summit, titled Ebooks: The New Normal. How libraries are purchasing, promoting and using ebooks are just a few of the topics that were presented. I was happy to be able to listen to the discussions from the panels through the day, and it led to some great Twitter conversations along the way. Check out the hashtag #ebksmt, and I will definitely be going back into the archives to catch some more of the details. There are some great notes available on from Sharon Moreland's Lybrarian blog.

Did anyone else attend the Summit? What did you bring away?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Public Library Books on the Kindle

Update: OverDrive has sent out a press release stating that all library partners will have Kindle formats available within the next week.

Well, I knew that the rumors about Kindle book availability through OverDrive were saying they would be available in September. I was still surprised to see this blog post in my Google Reader that it is already live (in beta) in a couple libraries.

So, of course this morning I checked our digital books site to see if we had a pleasant surprise - no joy yet. Then I ran over to the King County Library System website, which is one of two known libraries (along with Seattle Public Library) that has this live right now, to take a look at the implementation.

The Kindle format displays as another format along with the other ebooks. It appears we do not have to purchase a specific "Kindle" format. Looking at KCLS, whether they have just an EPUB or PDF format, or both, the Kindle format is displayed.

Other information available shows that patrons will be taken from the library website to Amazon to get the library loan. Also, Kindle wireless downloads will only be available through wifi. If you have an older, 3G-only Kindle, you will have to sync through a USB cable, similar to many other ereaders.

I know that Kindle owners in our system will rejoice when we have this service available. I also believe that it is important to be able to serve multiple formats of titles, similar to the way that our libraries already have multiple copies in different formats and languages. However, I personally have an undercurrent of fear of disservice because I foresee the holds ratios growing exponentially with the availability (which I discussed over at my other blog when this was first announced).

I will definitely be posting after our system goes live. Stay tuned!

Other Links:

Amazon: Public Library Books for Kindle
King County Library System Kindle Basics Help Page

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Shame of Listening to My Own Voice (aka My First Jing)

Thing 18 from CPD23 is about Jing/screen capture/podcasts, which are varied tools to help visualize data through screen capture. It has been interesting to see how training has been enhanced through the years from screenshots in static presentations to full-fledged-in-the-moment webinars.

Jing can record single shots or short videos, and will show everything that happens on the screen. This is extremely beneficial went walking through multiple mouse-click sessions that can lead to different screens. I had used Captivate previously, but it almost has too much capability, while Jing gives you a simple start and stop recording menu. You can then upload it to their site for public viewing, or save it in a Flash format. 

Considerations for recording include:
  • Microphone. You will want to make sure that viewers of your recording will actually be able to hear what you are saying.
  • Concise topic. Jing recordings are a maximum of five minutes.
  • Rehearsal. You do not necessarily have to script everything that you are doing, but you will want to make sure that you know what to expect. During one recording I went to click for patron login, but forgot we do not have an SSL certificate on the training server so I got the big "THIS SITE CANNOT BE TRUSTED" warning. Whoops.
  • Patience. Things go wrong. You click the wrong link, you start sneezing, the phone rings, your voice cracks because you didn't drink enough water, you lose internet connection. Be ready to do your recording more than one time. Or ten.
I recorded my first Jing session yesterday for member libraries, to show them the new Evergreen public catalog we will have after migration. I will be creating more demos to make available to staff, then make them available for the general public. Since we will not be migrating until the end of the year, I have time to edit or recreate the videos if anything changes in the meantime.

Now, if I could only change having to listen to my own voice on them...

Monday, September 12, 2011

Amazon E-Book Subscriptions

As many have seen today, the rumor mill around Amazon is spinning once again. This time about creating a subscription lending service for ebooks. From the information being passed around now, Amazon will be bundling this into the benefits of the Amazon Prime subscription, which already gives members access to video streaming and free express shipping. As digital content become a part of people's lives, it seems to make sense that a retailer would get involved this way.

However, there is a lot of trepidation already where ebooks and publishers are involved. Sources for these stories also indicate that the publishers are not jumping on board with the idea, even if Amazon is likely to pay generously for the privilege. With Amazon already planning to partner with OverDrive to create the Kindle Lending Library service (so library patrons with Kindles can use OverDrive services) it makes a librarian wonder how this will shake things up in the ebook world now?

Read More:

Wall Street Journal: "Amazon in Talks to Launch Digital Book Library"
Wired: "Book Publishers Should Be Wary of Amazon's Subscription Plans"
PC World: "Amazon Kindle E-Book Lending Program: What It Needs To Succeed"


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Teen Years (CPD23 Things 11-16)

It has been a very busy last few weeks, between a vacation/conference, then preparing my children for school days to begin. I thought the Labor Day holiday would be a good time to run through some of the topics that I have yet to touch upon for CPD23.

When I was finishing my degree I took a half-year practicum in the acquisitions department of the university library. The head of the department became a mentor to me, in the broadest sense of the word. Afterwards I learned from various people in my jobs, although none took a real mentoring role. In 2009, I was fortunate enough to get a place in the Library Leadership Massachusetts, a leadership conference for Massachusetts librarians and library staffs. Besides working with two facilitators, we worked in groups that included two mentors that assisted us with sessions.

Thing 12 - Putting The Social Into Social Media

Social media has definitely had a large influence on my professional life. I have made contact with other librarians and book professionals from around the world, and have gathered a lot more information than I could without it.

Thing 13 - GoogleDocs, Wikis, and Dropbox

I am a fan of two out of these three. I have used GoogleDocs for a long time, not only personally but professionally. I maintain work documents here for the Digital Commonwealth, as the sharing feature makes it easy for people to not only view but also edit collaboratively as needed. This function is a necessity, and having it cloud-based means I am not trapped within my work domain to use it.

Dropbox has similar features, although I know that they had a rough go earlier on due to privacy concerns. I think that with cloud-based storage, there is always going to be that concern. However, the benefits so far outweigh the risks.

I have never been a real fan of wikis. I think that may have to do with the sometimes rough editing features that many wiki programs have. Of course, this was in the early days of wiki constructs, and I am sure that there have been improvements.

Thing 14 - Zotero/Mendeley/citeulike

I am sure that these reference management systems are very useful, however not being based in an academic environment, I have not used nor see it likely that I will use these features. The only possibility would be if I decide to pursue my thoughts on publishing articles myself. Does anyone outside of academic libraries use these on a regular basis?

Thing 15 - Attending, Organizing, Presenting at Events/Conferences/Seminars

I am lucky to have attended a few conferences through the years, both at the state and the national level. They have ranged from the Massachusetts Library Association Annual Conference to the Public Library Association. I have also attended quite a few specialized conference and seminars for working within my Integrated Library System and learning more about web design and features.

I have been part of a couple panel presentations before, dealing with digitization and our repository. This past spring I spoke for the first time alone at the Digital Commonwealth Annual Conference, giving our "Introductory" session. While speaking always builds up some anxiety, I do enjoy the opportunity to share my experiences.

In regards to organization, I have planned workshops at the library level for our members dealing with ebooks, and now with the new Evergreen public catalog I am creating both screencasts (which will be highlighted more with Thing 18) and will do some Go-To-Webinars for online training. I have also been invited to help the New England Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (NE SCBWI) Conference review proposals for next spring.

Thing 16 - Advocacy

Advocacy is an important part of working in librarianship. Funding and public support can wax and wane - people want the services, but find it hard to buy into the "we need tax dollars to run" argument. I have been to Boston to visit the Legislature on the topic. Most are willing to listen, at least. It is wonderful that we do have such a broad vocal backing, but I know that it is not always enough. Libraries still close, others are decertified. It puts a strain on the resources of the neighboring communities when a town does not support their library. We have to keep talking.

I know that Thing 17 has been postponed, but Thing 18 has to do with Jing, which I plan on taking advantage of this week with my catalog screencasts. I am looking forward to some up-to-date experience - and posts!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Road To Librarianship is Paved With Books (Thing 10)

At least, mine was.

This week CPD23 is covering Routes to Librarianship. Their post is covering the steps that are mostly required over in the UK, and I find it interesting. The formal accreditation and chartership that they have seems to lean more towards the tenure-building that (fewer and fewer) academic librarians do. While I know that there are numerous continuing education experiences for librarians all over the US, I think that not requiring them, and not ensuring that all librarians have the opportunities, shows a lack on our parts.

I am a book lover and hoarder. I read voraciously and quickly. I prefer to read for fun, however I have added a lot of non-fiction to my personal collection as my interests in gardening, knitting and cooking grow. I remember being in my elementary school library all the time. I knew where the books I loved to read (I am a re-reader) where shelved and I can still picture those places in my head. I had the opportunity to actually work in the library when I was in sixth grade, and remember writing names and stamping due dates on cards. My high school library was a similar retreat for me, and browsing the paperbacks was a pastime. I was at the local library almost every weekend. I wondered what the people behind the desks did, but they always helped me.

My path to becoming a librarian began formally in 2001 when I decided to go back to school for my Master's degree. I was employed in local government, but was not sure it was really what I wanted to do. I was originally going to pursue math education, however my undergraduate was not in that field and I would have needed far more courses. I discovered the Library Science degree at the University at Albany (NY), took one course I paid for out-of-pocket, and fell in love. At the time I was going to pursue Library Media, as I figured that being on a similar schedule as my children would be beneficial, but my introverted number-pushing self came to the forefront and I ended up with a general degree with an emphasis on cataloging. We were required to have one session of internship, which I did in the acquisitions department at the university.

After acquiring my degree in 2003, I job hopped from an archival summer job at the Chautauqua Institution to landing a job in western MA as a cataloger at a public library. The library I started in was unique as being one of the few that still used Cutter Expansive. I moved laterally to another cataloging and acquisitions job and for a couple more years worked within public libraries, then into digital projects at the automation network. Here was where I developed a lot more web design and coding skills, and now supervise the department that deals with the public and digital catalogs and websites for our network. I still get to dip my hand a bit into collection development with our OverDrive collection, as I am the main selector for several genres.

I enjoy my work. There is always something new, although I am finding I really enjoy the ebook collection, both in acquisitions and in training. It is a fascinating and growing topic. I would like to write and present more. I co-authored a chapter on our digital repository a year ago, plus presented for the Digital Commonwealth conference, and of course blogging on librarianship and book topics are a given.

My work is not static, nor do I expect it to be.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Thursday (Library Day in the Life, #4)

I always believe that Thursday is the day without end. There is just something about Thursday afternoons that makes it seem eleventy-hundred hours long and you wonder if you could just jump in the TARDIS and get out of the day.

7:45 - Arrive at work. Login. Go drop daughter at camp (she's sleeping over tonight, no afternoon or morning stop tomorrow!) then back to the desk. I start by reviewing emails and compiling my to-do list, mostly on more follow-up work for the Digital Commonwealth.

9:00 - Deal with ecommerce questions about whether a payment went through for a patron or not. We are down a couple staff today so I actually get to pick up the phone and handle calls today. Also tentatively schedule an OverDrive library training for staff and patrons in September. I also finish a catch up post for CPD23.

12:00 - Lunch time! While still at my desk, I do decide to get off the work stuff and continue reading Ghost Story by Jim Butcher. Was glad to grab it from our Digital Catalog!

1:00 - Realizing that my staff person who usually does Digital Catalog support is out on vacation, I open the webmail account and answer questions.

2:30 - Email server goes down. Rebooted. Fifteen minutes later - still not working. The Apocalypse approaches.

3:30 - Apocalypse averted, email is restored! Time to sort through what I missed, which wasn't a lot.

4:00 - Time to log out and head home.

This was a quieter day for sure.

Catching Up on Things (CPD23)

So, even while I am participating in Library Day in the Life, I am still working on CPD23. I seem to be a bit behind on topics, so I thought that I would repeat the wheels too much and give some brief thoughts:

Thing 6: Online Networks

Ah, social networking. It can be a boon or a bane, depending on how you utilize them (or how much you really need a cow for FarmVille).

I do have a LinkedIn account, and it is up to date although somewhat static. I like having a professional presence online. I think that moving professional topics to this blog has increased my awareness about my "online image" and I should explore LinkedIn a bit more to see how it works.

I started my social online networking with MySpace several years ago. It was where I started my personal blog, before finally folding my account and moving to Facebook and my personal Blogger blog. I was very active on Facebook for the last couple of years, however between Twitter and Google+, I am finding that I update less. Both of my blogs feed to Facebook.

Thing 7: Face-to-Face Networks and Professional Organisations

I have been hit and miss with professional organisations through the years. When I was still pursuing my degree, ALA was the mecca of student interest. However the lack of time and finances has left me without ALA membership for most of my professional years.

Currently I do hold memberships in Massachusetts Library Association (MLA), my state library organisation, and in New England Library Association (NELA), which is a multi-state library organisation in the US. I find I get different investments from each: at the state level I find common goals across the Commonwealth and many librarians that I know. The Digital Commonwealth also partnered with the MLA for their conference this spring, which was very successful. With NELA, I find that the continuing education is my biggest draw. I am a member of both the Information Technology section, which has hosted some terrific workshops, and HQ73.6, the GLBT section, which is of professional and personal interest to me.

Thing 8: Google Calendar 

I adore my Google Calendar. Well, I do have more than one (*cough 13 cough*) because I use the color coding to keep track of personal tasks and important work tasks. We use a Calcium calendar at work, however I keep my Google Calendar open all the time in my browser so I will load most of the tasks there also.

Google Calendar has become indispensable to me. The only issue I really have is that I currently do not have continuous access to it (no smartphone) so I also keep a paper agenda in my bag. At least I remember to transfer appointments to Google Calendar. Usually.

I am not sure I would have ever taken up Evernote except for the fact that I have an iPad. At work I have found I prefer to have all my notes in one place and the piles of notepads I have filed makes this treehugger cry. So, when I got my iPad this spring, I was excited to have a portable device I could type notes on that was a lot lighter than my laptop. Except it does not have a native word processor. Of course there is the Notes app or the Apple apps, but who isn't looking for something free? Then I found Evernote.

Evernote, even in its free version, is very robust. I can take notes in various Notebooks (like folders), add tags, and save items from the web. With both the iPad app and a desktop version installed, I have access to those items as long as I have web access. Since I use Chrome as my web browser, there is also an Evernote extension that allows me to clip right from a webpage.

Now, let us see if I can stay caught up!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (Library Day in the Life, #3)

Not that there is much to wait for. It's just another day in the office, right?

7:45 - Arrive at the office. Quiet since no one is actually in my department yet. Login to applications and go drop my daughter off at camp.

8:30 - Check in with coworker about migration training coming up in August. We are getting ready to train our public libraries in Evergreen.

9:00 - Pull information off the printer about forming non-profits in the Commonwealth. Time to do some research on preparing articles of incorporation! This also reminds me that I have a to-do list from Monday's Digital Commonwealth meeting that I need to enter into my calendar(s). Three of them, this time.

11:15 - My staff person that usually submits the OverDrive orders is heading to Digipalooza this weekend so she wants to finish an order today. Updated my selector lists and created a new fiscal spreadsheet to track invoices between my staff's purchases and the billing manager's invoices. I also needed to update purchases for the consortial account with titles that were purchased by our OverDrive Advantage libraries.

Today marks the two-day Handheld Librarian Conference. I was going to attend this year, at the MA Library System offices, however the schedule did not work. I am going to follow what I can through the Twitter hashtag #hhlib.

1:15 - Selection lists are finally finished. Rush titles were given to coworker for order (we need Jim Butcher and Julia Quinn, dammit!). Back to adding code to the online catalog to get ready for the changes next week.

3:30 - Get reminders about Evergreen circulation training next week, which I will be assisting in. When I was working in the libraries, I did circulation on occasion, but spent most of my time in the backroom cataloging. I have to admit the nice thing about migrating to a new system is that we are all on the same learning curve.

4:00 - Logout and head for home!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tuesday's Gone (aka Library Day in the Life, #2)

Today was a bit calmer than yesterday. I don't feel so frantic about email and my projects actually started to cooperate.

7:45 - Arrive at work with daughter in tow to be dropped off at camp bus stop down the street. Check to see that email backup was completed (success!) and login to applications. For me this includes two instances of III Millennium (one for each region), Outlook, Dreamweaver and my Chrome work browser.

8:10 - Pop out of the office to drop daughter off. Bus is on time!

8:20 - Back at my desk and realized that I have not logged into the helpdesk ticketing program. Login. It fails. Try again. No connection to database. The only way for me to connect is to reboot my laptop, which means logging out of everything I signed into and restarting. I really should remember to open this application first.

8:30 - Continue reading through emails, filing in folders and catching up on Google Reader.

9:15 - Discuss Drupal training session with my manager. We use Drupal for both our public and staff intranet websites, and I am always looking for more experience with it.

9:30 - Send off email to another library that has some catalog code I would like to use.

10:00 - Received email that our Open EPUB titles were available on our OverDrive Digital Catalog. I usually like to test the process so that I am prepared when helpdesk calls come in. Process was simple, although less-familiar computer users may struggle with where to download the file. Discussed with colleague about differences in process and began writing up a website post to announce and explain Open EPUB downloads. This will be cross-posted to the Facebook page.

I have been having issues with placing images in our Drupal nodes (pages) on our website for several weeks. First I discovered the HTML setting was wrong (Filtered versus Full), then I saw that images were not enabled for my content type (Drupal breaks down posts: blog, story, page, etc.) and then I had to play with the links to embed the image on the page. Success!

11:30 - My Open EPUB post is finished, along with the updates for the public about the changes to the placing holds in our catalogs next week.

11:40 - Talk with the project coordinator about the Evergreen Template Toolkit catalog. This is currently under development so we discussed what functionality we think is still missing. Troubleshoot some web page changes with my church's administrative assistant. (Yes, I work on that website too).

12:00 - Lunch time boosted by catching up on Google Reader and Google+. Also more email support for libraries with Nooks not connecting to wireless and staff site logins.

1:15 - Continue exploring edits for our public catalog as we change some of the functionality next week. Also research the procedure for becoming a 501c3 for the Digital Commonwealth.

2:10 - Head to the digital lab to create a new OPAC button and test functionality on our staging setup. More success! We should be good to go on Monday.

3:00 - Log into Content Reserve, the acquisition interface for OverDrive. I select romance, science fiction, fantasy and young adult titles for the collection.

4:00 - Head home!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Just Another Manic Monday (aka Library Day in the Life, #1)

I decided to take the plunge and participate in Library Day in the Life . This semi-annual event allows librarians and library workers to share their workday in the form of pictures, video, blog entries and tweets. Check out the wiki or follow along with the hashtag #libday7.

I work for a library consortium in Massachusetts. As the head of Access Services, a department of three people, I work on the public catalogs, OverDrive digital catalog, reference databases, digital repository, and our websites (public and staff intranet) and Facebook page.

I had been off last week on vacation, which in central MA with temperatures in the 90s meant trying to hide in the coolest spot of my house (it was the basement, and laundry got done!). I am also one of those people who tends to check work email if I am gone from the office for a period of time, so I was already prepared for the news that our academic libraries migration had been delayed from our projected July launch. My consortia is moving over to Evergreen, and with 150+ libraries to move, our split of academics from public libraries during migration is just not as advantageous as we believed.

So, arriving at work at 8AM I spoke quickly with my manager about the revised plan, but my morning was taken up by a meeting of the Digital Commonwealth. Being the first meeting of the new fiscal year, we had new Board members to introduce and review our mission and goals with along with project statuses to update. This year I am also serving as President. It is the first time I am leading a committee, much less one that has an impact in such a large way on digitization and access in the Commonwealth. While there is a lot of work to be done, I am really excited for the projects we have for the next fiscal year.

It was after 12:30 by the time the meeting was over. I spent the next hour cleaning up the emails that had gathered in my inbox over the previous week. There was a lot of hitting the delete button. I am signed up for mailing lists throughout the state and many of the emails do not need my personal attention. I did have reviews to approve through our LibraryThing for Libraries installation on the catalog, plus some requests for staff accounts on our intranet site. I checked in with both of my staff to follow up on projects: we had one new library add a digital collection to our repository, Digital Treasures. We are also getting ready to add Open EPUB to our OverDrive digital catalog.

The rest of my afternoon was spent doing webpage edits in the catalog, updating migration news and tips, along with working on our testing server for workarounds to link to the Massachusetts Virtual Catalog. Our system currently has three catalogs: one for each region and one to let people request from the opposite region. We are shutting down the Union Catalog next week so that cross-region transactions can clear before migrating the data. Once we come up on Evergreen, it will be one system - one catalog. Huzzah!

With kids in camp, my day ends at 4PM during the summer. I made a quick to-do list for Tuesday (more web edits, meeting follow ups, collection development for OverDrive) and was out the door. Not a bad day's work after a week's vacation!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action. - Peter Drucker

I seem to have fallen a bit behind with my CPD23 posts, although in a way this lateness is timed perfectly. Last week was Thing 5: Reflective Practice. In many ways, I do this on a regular basis on my personal blog. I will ruminate on the things I pursue, whether in reading or knitting, gardening or parenting. In the midst of writing I can catch the tail of thoughts that never presented themselves when I was in the thick of action, but the reflective writing brought them to the surface.

Work is a bit different, whereas my network has been preparing for a migration to a new ILS the last year. We hit bumps along the way, as can happen, but we keep going. Sometimes this process happens so fast, you wonder if you have time to reflect and discover answers to questions or problem-solve in the most efficient way. When you have a timetable in place and a hundred-and-a-half libraries to take care of, sometimes all you can do is keep doing. Whether it turns out as effective as can be may only be discovered down the road.

In regards to CPD23, it made me take a look at how I blog and whether I wanted to keep my professional and personal "identities" more separated. I think there is reason for it, even if it seems to split me apart at times. As I explored the different blogs that others have created or continued for this program, I realize I am not the only one to wonder about that. Many seem inclined to keep there professional blog "untainted", although there are definite exceptions.

My personal brand is one that seems pretty entrenched online now, although I think I am still building the professional side of it. I know that social awareness is important to me, as Twitter and now Google+ have become a daily part of my online tasks. The information and networking from these services is instrumental in gathering more information outside my own little microcosm. This is bolstered by RSS feeds on various topics.

As I continue to explore what is available to me on a professional level (Thing 6 & 7 bring online and in-person social networks) I want to broaden my reflection time, both for my own awareness and to hopefully supplement some of the training I do. 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

CPD23: Thing 4 Deja Vu (RSS Feeds and Pushnote)

This post continues the review of the "Social Awareness" Things that CPD23 asked about this week. In my previous post, I discussed Twitter and how much an integral part of my social and professional networking and news base it has become. Along those lines, Google+ is becoming interesting, although off to a slow start with expectations of integration to already established platforms. I discussed this new social tool last week on the blog, and you can find my Google+ profile if you want to add me or have me add you to a Circle.

However, back to RSS Feeds and Pushnote.

RSS Feeds:

I started using RSS Feeds as different widgets on my iGoogle home page for my browser about three years ago. I had various tabs for the subjects I was following: libraries, book writers and bloggers, gardening, etc. however each widget took up a lot of screen space and I realized I had several tabs to slog through each day. Then I was told about Google Reader, which I still use.

My Google Reader this morning, after initial clean out.

My Google Reader extension in my toolbar.

Google Reader aggregates all subscribed feeds into one location. You can also set up folders by topic to help manage your subscriptions. Since I use Chrome as my browser, I have added an extension that gives me the number of unread posts at Reader throughout the day. I try to skim through first thing in the morning, will star the ones I want to go back for a thorough read or to comment on, then can clear it out by marking the rest as read. Of course, there is always a possibility of missing something along the way.

I try to do a periodic resort and unsubscribe from ones I know I am not really reading on a regular basis. I acquired a book blogger bundle through Stacked and now the participant bundle through CPD23. I opted for the single feed of posts at this point, however it is possible I will grab the individual blog bundle so I can weed out the ones I do and do not want to follow. With over 600 participants, that would be a time-consuming project for another day!


I have been reading the posts so far on Pushnote and took a look at the site. While I can understand the benefits this would have to someone who may not have such a service currently, I believe I have two or three other services that already do the job for me.

My Chrome extensions, including Save in Delicious (Tag),
Clip to Evernote (elephant), and Google Plus One Button (+1).

In my toolbar I have a few extensions that I use in Chrome, including Save in Delicious, Clip to Evernote and  the new Plus One (+1) button for Google. All three of these work to save webpages and other items of interest for me, either for my own consumption (in the case of Evernote), or that can be accessed publicly through Delicious or my Google Profile. I try not to be indiscriminate about what I post, but highlight things of interest to me and to those I know. Of course, the topics are far-flung from librarianship to gardening to chicken ordinances to ebooks, but still shared for the public.

There are many established social web tools that can be utilized at different levels: personal, professional, privately or publicly. As social interaction becomes as important as productivity online, I think that we will see more and more applications and services developed that recreate the wheel of social networking, while hoping to be "the one".

Friday, July 8, 2011

CPD23 Thing 4: Twitter

Back into CPD23 this week with Thing 4: Current awareness. This has participants looking at social tools that can assist keeping up with the happenings of the library and information science world. It is three tools actually: Twitter, RSS feeds and Pushnote. There is enough to talk about (at least for the first two) that I am going to break this up into multiple posts.


If you haven't figured out by now, I am on Twitter! You can find me at @booksNyarn. I would consider this account to be "profersonal". I originally created it over two years ago (on May 15, 2009 in fact) just for personal reasons and fun, but of course fell immediately in with a crowd of librarians who I count as my closest friends. I was also following knitters, librarians, gardeners, green activists. I rarely talked about work, I used a few different comic avatars, and used only my handle up until a little over a year ago.

This year has brought a lot more discussion: with librarians, with Library Journal, with upheavals in the digital world with ebooks. I have become more vocal for and about my profession and now put my face and my name on my account. As I began book reviewing at my other blog, I grew to know more book bloggers, reviewers and publishers too.

Over the last year I have begun to also tweet from various conferences and seminars that I have attended. Try to find out if the program you are attending has a hashtag! If not, create one. I have almost always found at least one other person tweeting at the program, which gives additional notes and perspectives, and I usually end up with comments, questions and other librarians to follow. You can also archive tweets with a particular hashtag over at TwapperKeeper.

Managing it has gotten to be a bit more unwieldy. I know I do not keep track of my timeline the way that I used to a couple of years ago. However, following over 900 people and organizations and having over 700 followers, I am not going to be able to keep up with it as much as I would like. This is why I started using Tweetdeck.

Tweetdeck is a third party Twitter application that allows the user to have multiple Twitter columns on their computer screen at the same time. You can also have multiple Twitter accounts, along with Facebook, Buzz, MySpace, etc. Being able to run multiple columns is a boon, especially since they can be created on lists or on search terms. Above I have my general timeline, then my Librarians list, plus the hashtag for #cpd23. I have a few other columns to help track mentions of me and direct messages. I used to run the desktop application, but with Chrome having an in-browser app, I have moved it there and just run it in a tab along with the other dozen I have open at an given time. Tweetdeck was bought by Twitter in May 2011. So far we haven't seen any real changes, and I am holding out hope that it will stay active and supported.

Twitter is a social tool I use every day, both professionally and personally. I interact with many more librarians and other people from across the US and the world than I ever would have in my own little corner of Massachusetts. It has broadened my network and become the place where I can get the news faster than the television or radio. I really cannot picture my online experience now without it.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Google+: A Work in Progress

Google has announced its own social-networking service in the form of Google + (or, Google Plus as I seem to keep wanting to type it). Google introduces it this way:
Today, the connections between people increasingly happen online. Yet the subtlety and substance of real-world interactions are lost in the rigidness of our online tools.
In this basic, human way, online sharing is awkward. Even broken. And we aim to fix it.
We’d like to bring the nuance and richness of real-life sharing to software.
We want to make Google better by including you, your relationships, and your interests.
While making an obvious crack at Facebook:’s online services turn friendship into fast food—wrapping everyone in “friend” paper—and sharing really suffers...
I was one of the lucky few who knew someone who knew someone and got my invite in the system before it was shut down yesterday. (Or is it back up? I am getting conflicting reports.) Many people I have added to my Circles were recommended through my Google contacts. However, there are quite a few that while I can add them to a Circle, because they have not been issued an invite yet, they can only get notification of your shared items by email. That makes me less inclined to share as much with some Circles because I do not want to be one of those people filling up others' inboxes!  I have gotten more mixed information on how people were getting invites: some say they got them by being added to a Circle, others said they had to issue an invite to people whether they had been added to a Circle or not.

Some of the things I like about it thus far, balanced against what I do not like/think needs some more work:

The Google Profile has been updated to fit in with Google+. It gives a cleaner interface (in my opinion) with easily navigable tabs.  There seems to be pretty clear information on what tabs are actually viewable to the public: it states on my Buzz tab that it is only visible to me. I do not like that unlike the actual Buzz page, I only see my items. Also, I wish that they would expand the links sidebar out so that the full link would show, as opposed to being cut off, and that the navigation tabs could be reordered. I think people would be more interested in landing on my About tab first, not my Posts, especially if they are not in a Circle that can see what is there.

You can not only edit the information on your profile piece by piece, but it will tell you exactly who can see it, and how you can change it. Similar to Facebook, especially with that Custom choice, but a welcome one. You don't have to hunt through click after click to figure out your privacy settings for your Google+ profile.

The main page of Google+ has some good and some needs work. Your stream is all the posts by people you follow, and you can filter it by the Circles you have created. Since I am not sure about sharing other people's information I am showing my Family Circle, which only has one person without an invite (Sorry, soon I promise!). Sparks seem similar to Alerts. I created a Spark on "ebooks" and found that the results are almost identical to the ones I receive in Reader.

When you post something in Google+ (called sharing) you have the options of making it public or limiting it to various Circles or Extended Circles, which I presume are the Circles of those you have in your Circles (anyone visualizing covered wagons yet?). People can comment, but there is no way to thread replies; comments are linear to the post. You also cannot feed Twitter or other services in like with Buzz, at least not that I can figure out. I am hoping this is something they plan to bring in. I would like to see some more integration and cohesion with what they already offer. If this is going to end up replacing Buzz, I don't want to lose services I already have.

I will admit first that I am thoroughly under the thumb of our Google overlords, using a lot of its various applications every day. I use Google Buzz, Reader, along with Twitter, a lot more than I do Facebook. However, I cannot really see this replacing Facebook for a couple of reasons.

  • Facebook lets you in from anywhere, with any email address. All of the people I have added to Google+ have had to already have a Google Profile. Can I see everyone drinking the Google Kool-Aid? No.
I can see people trying this out and enjoying the ability to have a smaller network than may currently exist on Facebook. I am not going to add all my high school and college friends into a Circle, that is for sure. I can see using it to connect with and follow colleagues in professional Circles, and, if Buzz folds into it, as my online social-sharing feed.  However, Google is going to have to act fast by allowing invites to go back out, and integrate some of the services people are already looking for with online social networking, or this may go the way of Google Wave. 

Are you one of the chosen few? Are you still waiting? What do you think?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Thing 3: Branding and Spin-offs (aka Am I CSI:Miami or Joanie Loves Chachi?)

This week's topic is branding, which I have found has brought out some interesting questions today.

I have been on Twitter for a couple of years now and ever since the big explosion of ebooks in libraries, I have found myself talking more and more professionally on Twitter, and now has carried over to my personal blog with some posts about OverDrive and ebooks. When CPD23 came along, I thought it would be the perfect chance to split off the more professional discussion and go back to keeping my blog full of books and yarn and chickens. I created a blog name that suited me (three gadgets plugged into the outlet as I type), have been thinking about sprucing it up, and deciding how much I want to post and the topics I am most interested in (ebooks, Web 2.0, technology). I can definitely brand myself this way.

However, I have realized something: aren't I already branded? I have been "booksNyarn" on the Internet for over four years now. I have my real name and real photo up in most places. I talk with other librarians, publishers, editors and companies on Twitter. My opinion pieces on ebooks and OverDrive have been some of the most read posts on my other blog (along with my desire for chickens), so why did I think I needed to recreate the wheel?

I followed Jo's advice on the CPD23 blog by searching my name in Google. It seems that Kristi Chadwick is not as uncommon as it could be, and the assorted spellings are enough to knock some of my results several pages in. However, then I added "libraries" to it, and that made it all me for the next couple of pages (although that photographer Kristie Chadwick sneaks in somehow). I was amazed to see how many results I had. In fact, I was surprised to find an April article from Library Journal which actually quoted from my blog, which I didn't know about until today. I am already branded this way.

Which is what brought me to thinking for this post. Am I creating a spin-off that can be successful, or is this going to fold after a season? CSI has made it work from Las Vegas to Miami to NY. Law & Order did it across police departments and the country.  I did love Happy Days when I was a kid, but everyone knew it was Richie and Fonzi that made that show work, not Joanie or Chachi.

Being a librarian is a large part of me, but is there really enough of me to go around? Should I keep trying to give myself two brands, or just evolve the one that is already established? Should I fold this one back into the other blog, keep it for this project, keep going with it? Go ahead and take a look at my earlier posts here and at my other blog. What do you think?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Thing 2 Update: Visiting Blogs

It has been a little difficult for me this week to visit as many blogs as I have wanted to. I have been able to get to about a half-dozen for commenting. With several hundred participants, I am sure that I have not found half a quarter?) as many as I would like. I will keep checking out blogs through the remainder of the weeks with the help from CPD23's Delicious bookmark. The tagging they have done has been very useful, and while I admit to have just been going through the US bloggers to start, there are so many international librarians that I want to check out and see what similarities and differences there are in work with colleagues from other countries.

I was interested to see that I have the only blog tagged as "automation network". I guess I am the only librarian in a consortium participating? I do miss working within a library, although I have been thrilled with the opportunities I have received for expanding my technology skills. I have learned to build Drupal websites, rip apart html code, digitize two-dimensional materials, and still do some collection development with our OverDrive collection. Right now I am testing the new online catalog from Evergreen as our first group of libraries get prepared to migrate next week. Working with the consortium also broadens my perspective of what librarians need for services in different fields: public, academic, school and special. Unfortunately we cannot always provide a perfect balance to our service, but I strive to find out what the libraries need and help tailor it to their population.

Does your library belong to a consortium?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

CPD23: Thing 1 and Thing 2

Who doesn't love a Dr. Seuss reference?

This week kicks off Week One of 23 Things for Professional Development. As I indicated in my opening post, 23 Things is aimed at introducing tools that could help development (professionally and personally) as a librarian or information professional.

I decided to participate, and create this new blog, because of my work as a librarian. I don't work in a library anymore. I work for an automation network that provides ILS (integrated library system) and other technology services for about 150 libraries in central and western Massachusetts. My official title is Access Services Supervisor and I oversee the department that handles the online catalog, digital repository, reference databases, OverDrive digital catalog and online presence (website, intranet, Facebook page). Beyond that my department is part of a larger group that handles any helpdesk calls for library staff support with the library management system. We are in the middle of a crunch time as we get ready to migrate to the open-source system Evergreen in two stages in July and October.

Since time is of the essence, I wanted to participate in CPD23 on my own time and pace. While some of the tools that will be introduced I am familiar with, others I am not and probably wouldn't have as much of a chance at a guided tour of them without this program. I hope to not only be a resource for colleagues who may want this information in my consortium, but use them myself as I start speaking more and more. This year I presented for the first time at a conference, and I have stepped into a leadership role in the Massachusetts Digital Commonwealth. I am looking forward to continuing to develop professionally.

This week's topics are Thing 1: Blogs and Blogging and Thing 2: Investigate Other Blogs. I am well-seasoned in the first topic as I have been blogging for almost four years at Books, Yarn, Ink and Other Pursuits. This is blog has seen a transition from strictly personal to personal and book reviews, and I have been very pleased with its direction. There are many wonderful book bloggers out there, but I wasn't finding blogs about the topics I like to read and get recommended to, so I started doing some of my own. It also brings me back to reading and gives me a connection back to the work I used to do in public libraries in acquisitions and reader's advisory. While I have some professional blogs in my feeds, I am pleased that CPD23 gives us access to Delicious bookmarks of all the participants for Thing 2.  There are several hundred participants, and the bookmarks have been tagged by specialty (public, academic, corporate, network, location, etc).

If you have any questions, feel free to leave me a comment. Thank you for stopping by!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

OverDrive WIN: Is it really?

OverDrive is back in the news, just before the ALA Conference down in New Orleans, giving hints at some new platform enhancements that will supposedly "balance the interests of libraries and publishers" and streamline operations and reduce staff time devoted to both collection development and format tracking.

The platform will be called OverDrive WIN and will supposedly include, among other services:
  • support for the forthcoming Kindle Lending Library, plus all the platforms and devices being used by patrons
  • DRM-free EPUBs
  • Patron-driven acquisitions
  • new collections of always available ebook titles in various genres, including romance, children, young adult
Some of these ventures sound very promising. I know that library staff, and those of us at the consortium level that have to handle support, can hit a wall with some issues. OverDrive is usually pretty responsive in assisting, and it will be good to see them take a more proactive approach with patrons directly.  I like the idea of having more subscription models, but will wait to see if they are going to be more like their current "Max Access" audiobook titles or lean toward HarperCollins decree. Patron-driven acquisitions can be hit or miss, but at least they are describing it as an opt-in feature for libraries.

All in all, I will be cautiously optimistic with this news. I will not be at ALA this year, but am sure I will get all the news from my director and all those who are attending. 

If I find follow up responses to this announcement, I will link to them from the blog.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Welcome, Welcome!

Hi! Thank you for stumbling upon this blog. Many of you may know my alter-ego booksNyarn on Twitter or over at Books, Yarn, Ink and Other Pursuits. While I do write about some of my librarianship over there, I decided I did not want to flood all my followers only interested in my book reviews and chicken pursuits with shop talk. However, I will be linking between the two at times if it is relevant.

This blog will be getting its initial use this summer as I participate in CPD23. What is that, you ask?

From the site:

23 Things for Professional Development is a free online programme open to information professionals at all stages of their career, in all types of role, and anywhere across the world.

Inspired by the 23 Things programmes for social media, this new programme will consist of a mixture of social media "Things" and "Things" to do with professional development. The programme starts on 20 June and will run until early October 2011.

Each week the CPD23 blog will be updated with details of the next thing to be explored. Catch up weeks and reflection weeks are built into the programme, so it's not a problem if you’re going to be away for a week or two!

Please do spread the word to any friends, colleagues, or groups that might be interested: please pass on this message and link to If you’re on Twitter follow @cpd23 and tweet with the hashtag #cpd23.

If you are interested in the topics they will have, definitely sign up. I will be looking forward to participating.