Tag Archives: libraries

Library Thought Leaders Q&A: Mary-Carol Lindbloom (Executive Director South Central Regional Library Council)

Today’s library thought leader is Mary-Carol Lindbloom, the Executive Director for the South Central Regional Library Council in New York state.

When did you get started in reference, and more specifically virtual reference?

In the summer of 1999, when a group of us, including Tom Peters, Lori Bell, and Ginny McCoy, met in person at Eureka College (IL) to brainstorm a grant for an academic virtual reference collaborative. Eureka, indeed! Initially, as we thought about the grant, we planned to staff the virtual desk afternoons only. But it was a grant—why not experiment and use that opportunity to explore 24/7 virtual reference? Would students and others really use the service in the middle of the night? The grant application was successful, so we used that opportunity to find out. I was the project director for the grant and Bernie Sloan was the evaluator who analyzed such areas as time of day, days of week, questions, etc. I have only been involved with virtual reference in a collaborative environment—the service was planned, implemented, and delivered collaboratively. That project was called Ready for Reference; a year later we combined with a public library virtual reference service to form My Web Librarian; eventually MWL merged with AskAwayIllinois.

How did you come up with the idea for My Info Quest?

I personally didn’t! Many of us had been working with virtual reference for over a decade at that point, and Lori Bell, who worked at the Alliance Library System in Peoria in 2009, raised the question about SMS texting as a service platform for the 21st century. She was able to secure funding to test this; when the funding ended, the project continued as a library/library system-sustained program. SCRLC had been involved in MIQ from the get-go, so we took over some of the leadership after the Illinois library systems merged.

If you were to start it again, what would you do differently?

I would have a business plan from the get-go. Several virtual reference cooperatives have started with grant funding, and find it very challenging to move from grant funding to library-sustained. I might explore grant funding to study certain aspects of the service, but at the core, there has to be a committed group of libraries willing to pay for the service. There also has to be ample funding for a project coordinator/director and marketing—marketing to two difference audiences (librarians and library users).

What advice do you have to anyone looking to manage a cooperative?

This advice pertains to a virtual reference cooperative! Ensure you have adequate time and funding to devote to the process, including time to evaluate and analyze. If you do not have a general business plan or strategic plan, get with your group and develop one—include goals and objectives. As with all library positions in the 21st century (and all centuries, for that matter!), there are multiple components to manage within a virtual reference cooperative. Be comfortable with ambiguity and change—it is cliché but those are the constants—especially change. In addition to time spent on the actual desk answering questions, in MIQ there are scheduling, marketing, best practices, standards/policies, recruitment, training, and sustainability. Ensure that training is interactive, even at a distance. Sharon Kim, our current coordinator, has used Google Neighborhood and GoToMeeting to train librarians and students (we have student librarians in this service, as well). She developed practice questions that also lead trainees through the service’s best practices. Set up a Google Group to communicate (this is used to sent pointers, meeting notices, participants request temporary desk shift changes, other information, etc.). Try to meet virtually on a regular basis (we have monthly meetings for those who can tune in). Develop working groups, as needed—one wonderful aspect of being part of a collaborative service is that we don’t have to go it alone! MIQ has a culture where participants feel safe and comfortable in expressing and contributing their ideas.

What does virtual reference look like in the future?

Most libraries reachable to their users via virtual reference services! The number of libraries that are not reachable via virtual reference, i.e., SMS text and web-based chat, is amazing to me. In point-of-need service, which many of us try to provide, users/members/patrons must be able to walk in, phone, email, text, or chat up the reference desk. If I recall, according to one of the Pew studies, 31% of texters prefer texting to talking—and that was a study that included young adults but not teens. If we are to stay relevant to future users, we absolutely have to be reachable to users in all ways. I would like to see libraries rival the commercial chat services, e.g., ChaCha—to be the go-to service for questions that increasingly our smart phones can’t answer. And I do think that is a factor. We’re seeing less “ready reference” questions in our service and more library-related. With the increase in smart phone ownership, I think that those folks are finding their own quick answers. VR still enables us to be the human behind the machine! But…it could go the other way—with budget and time challenges, there could be fewer individual libraries offering their users this capability, and cooperatives could dissolve. Hopefully that only occurs in an anti-universe far, far away! My hope: All users are met at their point of need 24/7/365, by librarians—that our libraries are relevant, valued, and supported by our communities! I would also like to see VR become such a standard part of library service that there is no need for lists in the Wikipedia of libraries that offer virtual reference (or SMS text reference). When is the last time you saw a list of libraries that offer phone or email reference?

What is a current trend in libraries that interests you?

Just one? The effect of patron-driven-acquisitions on resource sharing and collection development; trends in texting for information; best practices for continuing education delivered via distance learning; assessment and the relationship between student outcomes and library services.

Ok, now ask us a question.

Where do you see Mosio for Libraries in five-years, including…..any plans for a back-up reference service?

About Mary-Carol Lindbloom: Mary-Carol is the Executive Director for the South Central Regional Library Council. SCRLC is a non-profit, multi-type library consortium, operating under charter by the New York State Board of Regents. It has member libraries located in the counties of Allegany, Broome, Cayuga, Chemung, Chenango, Cortland, Delaware, Otsego, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Tioga, Tompkins, and Yates. The members include academic, corporate, hospital, public, school, and non-profit libraries.

Facebook: South Central Regional Library Council
Twitter: SCRLC
LinkedIn:
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/mary-carol-lindbloom/6/a85/24a

Library News Update: 3D Printing Arrives at the Library, a brief history of the Bookmobile, and more

File photo. The Johnson County Library's Shawnee branch is located at 13811 Johnson Drive.

Libraries are often on the forefront of technology. The Chicago Public Library brings new meaning to that trend with its new CPL Innovation Lab. The Innovation Lab is free to the public and features three 3D printers, 3D printing software and various related tools. The CPL is also offering workshops to introduce patrons to the technology.

Chicago Public Library To Open 3D Printer Space

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At Mosio we’ve been watching the ’3D Printer in Libraries’ trend grow and we’re all for it. Chicago isn’t the only one. Joining them is the Saxonburg Area Library in Pittsburg, which received a generous gift of one 3D printer for its patrons to explore.

Heard Off the Street: Library’s 3-D printer spits out all kinds of fun and learning

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From technology innovation to the history of an innovative way to provide service to underserviced rural communities, the Chicoer has a story of the beginning of the California State Library Bookmobile. Long before digital reference was avialable, libraries reached out to patrons by physically bringing services to them. We might even say that the Bookmobile can be seen as the start of mobile reference

Check It Out: A library on wheels

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We’re also keeping our eye and these trends in library technologies and services, from the Library as a retail space, to studies on how young people are using libraries today.

Dalby Library enters the digital age

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Library system works to serve patrons’ changing technological needs

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When Libraries Become Retailers

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Siouxland Libraries Upgrade System

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Libraries will release a “Top 10″ recommendation list starting this fall

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THE LATEST ADDITION TO THE OBAMACARE ARMY: LIBRARIES

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Library learning to grow on its own

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Hutt libraries offer eReaders

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New report maps young Americans’ library, technology use

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Lake libraries add new database useful for finding friends, doing business research and more

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Young adults like libraries and books, new study finds

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W.O.W. bus brings books, technology to Missoula County

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Healthy libraries, healthy communities

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NFC tagged library lets you research books with your smartphone before you borrow

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Library user numbers up 10,000 as eBook usage rockets

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Queens Library Introduces Downloadable E-Magazines

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Libraries offer patrons e-books

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Westfield Library offers magazine collection online

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Library use can reverse falling standards

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Johnson County Library honored for innovation

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Staten Island’s Stapleton library bigger, beautiful and chock full of books

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Library to start Sunday hours

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Found and listed by Mosio for Libraries – Patron Support Software for Libraries. All copyright belongs to original owners.

Library News: Libraries using radio waves to save staff and customers time, The “Bookless” Library, US libraries to help uninsured Americans figure out new health coverage options

(Chris Carlson/AP)

At Mosio we love libraries. It turns out so do young people. A new study finds that the age group that uses libraries the most is 16 to 29 year olds. Given how tech savvy young people are, this is an incentive for libraries to keep on the cutting edge of technology and digital reference trends. However, the study also finds that despite their technological skills, young people are still fond of traditional bound paper books.

Young adults like libraries and books, new study finds

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A love of paper books may be part of the success of the “Little Free Library” kiosks. Popping up around the globe, these small wooden boxes offer people a new way to share books and the reading experience.

Little Free Library kiosks pop up in Sacramento area

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From free books on every corner to the “Bookless Library,” North Carolina State University is turning the traditional library on its head. Their new Hunt Library is a clean modern open space, with lots of room for students to congregate and collaborate. What’s missing are the books. They aren’t gone completely, however. They are simply tucked away in an archival space, and delivered by a book delivery system called the “bookBot.”

The “Bookless” Library

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Here are some other news items from the libary world you might find interesting.

Queens Library Offers Free Digital Copies of Magazines

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ALA 2013: Libraries to Offer Monthly ‘Top 10′ Book List

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Bringing libraries back to communities

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Video: Libraries using radio waves to save staff, customers time

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Local libraries: staying relevant in a digital age

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Siouxland Libraries New Technology

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The Central Library Moves Hidden Treasures Out Into The Public Eye

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Library now offers even more downloadable audiobooks

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Morton Grove Library to open new entrance, install self-checkout

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Amid changing technology, West Virginia’s public libraries maintain relevance

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Laptop donations increase access at library

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Howard Library System named Library of the Year

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APNewsBreak: US libraries to help uninsured Americans figure out new health coverage options

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Who knew reading could be so lucrative — Library system to give away $1,500 in prizes

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Library to roll out new checkout system

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Mt. Airy’s Lovett Library selected as prototype in citywide library system transformation

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Oregon State Library offers services to enhance local library programs

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Perry Castañeda Library consolidates service desk

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New mobile app lets users search library catalog, download eBooks

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Access Aberdeen library services 24/7

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Pima Library goes mobile with new app

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The Library virtually and in reality

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Found and listed by Mosio for Libraries – Patron Support Software for Libraries. All copyright belongs to original owners.

 

Library News Update: African Libraries in the Digital Age – “Reaching Outside Their Walls”, Introducing the new standalone catalog system, Dubai libraries: A paradise for book lovers

Here at Mosio, we love to hear about ways libraries going digital. One consistent technology trend that is driving up circulation numbers across the country is e-books. West Virginia public libraries are finding that their patrons want books in every form they can get them, from paper to audio books to ebooks. The variety of options is bringing people in the door.

Popularity of eBooks has changed library circulation

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Meanwhile in Texas, Bryan-College Station libraries have seen an additional 2000 patrons due to their e-book collection.

Bryan-College Station libraries increasing use of eBooks

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E-books are also driving an steady monthly uptick in circulation numbers at the Calloway County Library in Kentucky.

Ebooks proving popular at Calloway library

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Where do you learn how to survive a zombie apocolypse? The public library of course. The Baraboo Library is bringing teens in the library by turning it into a community center with their Tuesday night programs. During the zombie program teens discussed zombies in pop culture, as well as learned important lessons about overall disaster preparedness.

Feeding teen brains at the library

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Here are some more news bytes about digital libraries and libraries as community spaces.

African Libraries in the Digital Age – “Reaching Outside Their Walls”

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Advances in technology changes local libraries for the better

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Heard Off the Street: Library’s 3-D printer spits out all kinds of fun and learning

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Column: Library offers plenty of e-options

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Introducing the new standalone catalog system

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Chicago Public Library to Open Free Digital Fabrication Maker Space

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South Brunswick Library Offers Cardholders Access To Digital Magazines

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A single library card for Bradford County

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The New York Public Library checks out e-commerce

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Solano libraries now lend out laptops

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Rockford Public Library Seeing More Digital Bookworms

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Dubai libraries: A paradise for book lovers

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Little Free Libraries’ Catching On In Door County

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Library of Congress Transitions to Free, Online-Only Cataloging Publications

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Houston Public Library unveils new catalog, customer account interface

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Rafael Anchia: Think libraries are important? Let’s prove it

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HUDSON LIBRARY OFFERS DIGITAL PROGRAMS TO WHET THE TECHIE APPETITE

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Secrets of the Library: Download magazines and more at your library

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Library one of the best deals in town, says director

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“Little Free Library” encourages reading, community spirit

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Library’s electronic magazines free, easy

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Found and listed by Mosio for Libraries – Patron Support Software for Libraries. All copyright belongs to original owners.

Library News: Library system vital to community, Public Libraries Outnumber McDonald’s, Behold, Every One of the 17,000 Libraries in the U.S. Mapped

It seems like there’s a McDonald’s or Starbucks on every corner. They’re a sign of dependability. You might be surprised to know that there are actually more public libraries in the United States than individual stores of either of the mega chains. There are approximately 17,000 public libraries, while McDonald’s has approximately 14,000 stores and Starbucks has 11,000.

Public Libraries Outnumber McDonald’s

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If you want to get a visual of what that looks like, you can view all the public libraries in America mapped out here.

Behold, Every One of the 17,000 Libraries in the U.S. Mapped

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Seattle Public Libraries are reaching out to patrons in a creative new way, with their Books on Bikes program. Librarians will be bicycling to various outdoor events this year with small trailers that function as mobile libraries. The innovative outreach goes a step further by including mobile wifi connections that allow the librarians to demonstrate e-books and other digital technology the library has to offer. It’s a marriage of high tech and lo tech.

Seattle Public Library Puts Books on Bikes

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Here are some more library news items we found interesting.

Library Enhances Digital Library

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Devon libraries’ self-help mental health scheme

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OUR VIEW: Library system vital to community

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App puts Pima County Public Library on your smartphone, tablet

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Rockford Public Library sees boom in digital borrowing

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At Your Library: Empowering people to change their lives

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The Future of Libraries: Short on Books, Long on Tech

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Digital library to lighten the load in Ridgewood schools

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New app launched to help library users in Gloucestershire

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Ottawa library first in Canada to offer Google Chromebooks

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The house of treasures: your library

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Books on wheels: Mobile library, a hit

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ALA 2013: The Library of 2020 Will Be…

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New One Card Six Libraries service a major success

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Sunnyvale: County’s first library vending machine serves books at the push of a button

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Little Free Library – A good thing that’s in a small package

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Box serves as portable library in Brooklyn

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Sacramento Public Library named one of top 3 in North America

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Red telephone boxes in Essex to become ‘mini libraries’

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Libraries Check Out E-Sales

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Kitchener library launches mobile app for smartphones and tablet computers

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Rockford library adds magazines to its digital lineup

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Found and listed by Mosio for Libraries – Patron Support Software for Libraries. All copyright belongs to original owners.

Library News: Libraries look beyond the shelves, Why Libraries Are More Relevant Than Ever Before, New York Libraries 24 Hour Read In

Albertsons Library at Boise State gets some great publicity from the campus newspaper. The story talks about the various services the library provides that aid students in their research needs, and save them valuable time. The piece details how to get research assistance both in the library, and through the text and mobile options.

Library tips to save students time

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Another fun example of how libraries are drawing in young people is Harlem’s new library dedicated entirely to teenagers. The library offers 4,400 square feet of open space. Teens can play video games, snack, lounge and study. The space boasts bright colors and creative seating.

PUBLIC LIBRARY ENCOURAGES TEENS TO HANG OUT [PICS]

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Read more about new trends in libraries in these other stories.

Libraries look beyond the shelves

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MidPointe: We are a modern, changing library

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Maine libraries’ Internet expansion aids jobless

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Washington libraries embrace technology

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Montclair Public Library investigating new ways to check out

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Could Bookless Libraries Revolutionize Access for the Poor?

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Public Libraries of Saginaw keep kids, adults reading with summer reading kickoff June 3

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Why Libraries Are More Relevant Than Ever Before

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A Gorgeous Home Library Would Turn Anyone Into A Bookworm (PHOTOS)

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Rediscover the wonders at your local library

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Even in the digital age, public libraries provide an important service

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Digital bookmobile’ promotes e-books

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Library of Congress to exhibit 230 new items in “Civil War in America”

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Bookmobile Hits The Streets

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Howard County Library System Named 2013 Library of the Year

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Libraries expanding availability of free digital downloads

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City of Evanston announces new mobile app for the Public Library

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New York Libraries 24 Hour Read In

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Check it Out at the Library: Traveling photos tell county libraries stories

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Library use on the rise in a tough economy

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Duluth library’s book-delivery program comes off the shelf

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Patrons can use materials from any location in the library system

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Williamsburg Library gets online magazines

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Found and listed by Mosio for Libraries – Patron Support Software for Libraries. All copyright belongs to original owners.

Library News: Libraries invest to keep up with demands, New technology increases efficiency at library, World’s Tiniest Library Pops Up In New York City

About 76 percent of public libraries across the country already are offering e-books, and about 39 percent of all libraries nationwide offer e-readers.

We know libraries provide access to information, but how often do you think about libraries as information creators? American Libraries Magazine shows us how libraries have always been content creators, and how they can use social media to harness and focus their content creation to get attention. Videos, podcasts and blog posts are all discussed as ways for libraries to further reach out to the public.

Libraries as Content Creators

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Last year, the Snell Library at Northeastern launched the Digital Media Commons, which offers students high tech digital tools including 3D-modeling, animation and game designing software. In the wake of the success of the Digital Media Commons, the library is announcing the next phase of the project. The first floor of the library will be converted into a new modern technology focused workspace which will include new studio space and 3D printing.

Northeastern to expand library’s cutting-​​edge Digital Media Commons

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Here are more stories of library innovation and technology.

Libraries invest to keep up with demands

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E-books present new chapter for libraries, publishers to solve

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Libraries, not just for bookworms

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Little libraries’ provide big boost for local readers

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Garwood Library brings e-books to patrons

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What does a school library look like in the digital age?

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World’s Tiniest Library Pops Up In New York City

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Making Room for Innovation

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Lehigh County students can now get eBooks through school libraries

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Library to Launch e-Reader Lending Service

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Northeastern to expand library’s cutting-​​edge Digital Media Commons

Read MoreNew technology increases efficiency at library

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Walker Memorial Library digitizes old images

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West Caldwell Public Library now bringing enhanced digital services to its patrons

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Libraries add 3-D copiers to allow readers to design, create

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Paperless public libraries switch to digital

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Library launches digital audiobook service

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Santa Maria Library has new phone for hearing impaired

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World’s 1st green Library for kids has opened

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In the Digital Age, What Becomes of the Library?

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Evanston Public Library participates in initiative to improve technology service

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Study Shows Library Branches Popular, Serve Different Needs

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Public Library marks new milestone with 500K library cardholders

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El Cerrito Library boosters seek increase in open hours

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Found and listed by Mosio for Libraries – Patron Support Software for Libraries. All copyright belongs to original owners.

How to Create a Great FAQ Page for Your Library

isolated faq button

A Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page can be a useful tool that patrons, and even library staff, can refer to to get helpful answers to frequent questions. However, FAQs can often become outdated, and lackluster FAQs will give a poor impression of your library and its customer service. A well thought out and maintained FAQ page can serve as a great resource and a good marketing tool for library services.

 

Make sure to discover what your patrons are really asking. Keep a log at the reference desk where librarians can note questions that are asked. Go through and group like questions together and decide which questions are appropriate for a FAQ. They should be questions that are not only frequently asked, but that are brief and easily answered to completion in an online document.

 

Keep your FAQ timely and up to date. It may be too much of a burden to continually track all questions posed to the reference desk, but you may want to have reference staff note when new repeat questions seem to pop up. You can also select certain time periods throughout the year to have questions logged.

 

Ensure that your answers are clear and answer the question completely. Inquiries that require a more in depth explanation, or have various nuances,  may not be appropriate for an FAQ document.

 

Make your FAQ easy to find and easy to search. Place the link in an obvious place on your website. You may want to have the link in several locations. Group questions by subject and have a search function, so patrons can find the answers they are looking for without too much effort or any aggravation.

 

Consider letting patrons contribute ideas for the FAQ. Provide a form or a contact page for them to submit ideas. Obvious contact information is also necessary to make sure patrons know where to go next in case the FAQ doesn’t answer their question.

 

Remember that a great FAQ document can be a key element to successful customer service. Patrons can get quick satisfaction by finding their own answers to basic questions. Additionally, rather than repeatedly answering the same questions library staff can quickly and easily refer patrons directly to the FAQ, saving valuable time.

25 Great Text Messaging Acronyms You May or May Not Need to Know for Your Text-a-Librarian Service

Do you speak text?

Mosio_TextSpeak_Translator

Your patrons speak many languages, and you can’t learn them all. But one thing you can do to improve service to your patrons is familiarize yourself with some of the more common terms and phrases in their languages of preference. If your patron is text-savvy enough to be texting his or her librarian, then one of his or her languages of preference is chat and chances are he or she is up on the latest text messaging acronyms.

A great way to enhance chat service for your patrons and maximize your efficient use of time is to become familiar with some of the most common and helpful text messaging acronyms. Speaking your users’ languages, especially in online communications, will help them feel more comfortable and give that personal touch so they don’t feel like they are talking to a robot.

There are thousands of text messaging acronyms, but we want to stick to the ones that can be used in a professional environment and that are not too obscure. These are the ones your users will likely be using, and these are the ones that you should be using as well. You will want to tailor your chat acronym use to each session, gauging each individual user’s chat acronym expertise level by the acronyms that he or she uses him- or herself.

Here is a list of 25 text messaging acronyms which you can add to your arsenal of reference tools.

AAP – Always a pleasure
BIF – Before I forget
BRB – Be right back
BTW – By the way
EOM – End of message
F2F – Face to face
GL – Good luck
HAND – Have a nice day
IANAL – I am not a lawyer
IMA – I might add
IMO – In my opinion
IOW – In other words
ISWYM – I see what you mean
JIC – Just in case
OIC – Oh, I see
OTOH – On the other hand
PD – Public domain
SOW – Speaking of which
THX – Thanks
TTBOMK – To the best of my knowledge
TYVM – Thank you very much
WB – Welcome back
WRT – With regard to
WTG – Way to go!
YW – You’re welcome

The patron texting a question is typically expecting a quick response and librarians need to be prepared to answer text-a-librarian questions promptly. Lots of chat acronyms, such as ROFL and L8R, are designed for close friends. Your users may employ such acronyms, but you will want to restrict your use to the more professional ones such as those in the list above.

And if your patron sends you a puzzling collection of letters and you have no idea what they mean, Mosio’s text speak translator will give you the help you need with its 800+ text messaging acronym definitions.

Library News: Use Smart Phone as library card at the Westfield Library, Little Free Libraries Promote Love of Books, Library Catering on Wheels

Libraries go green, as the first solar-powered library opened in New Zealand. The library is entirely powered by 115 photovoltaic panels. Any energy generated beyond what the library needs will be sold back to the national grid. Additionally, the library has two charging stations for electric cars. Sustainable building elements are throughout the entire new library design.

First solar-powered library

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Library patrons in Westford, New Jersey can now use their smart phones as library cards. The CardStar app lets patrons save their library card barcode on their smart phones. Then they can scan the code directly off the phone to check out books.

Use Smart Phone as library card at the Westfield Library

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The Oakville Public Library is also joining the smart phone app trend, by offering an app that allows patrons to access their accounts. Patrons can place holds, renew checked out items, check library hours, search collections and download e-books and audiobooks.

Oakville Public Library launches new free smartphone app

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Here are some other library news items we found interesting.

Huntsville Public Library joins Houston technology network

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NYPL Releases Digital Collections API to the Public

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MissCo library system offers ebooks

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Learn new languages with library’s new electronic resources

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Greenle libraries now offer Zinio news link

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Tanzania: PM Unveils Pioneer E-Book Library

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Even in the digital age, libraries relevant to community

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Little Free Libraries Promote Love of Books

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Santa Clara County libraries promote early literacy skills

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Dig into reading this summer at New Orleans Public Library

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Cincinnati Library Reaches Card Milestone

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Abington Library’s Wired Wednesdays Digitize Patrons’ Experience

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Texas Library First Ever All-Digital Facility

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Flint Public Library offering free passes, discounts to state museums, more with Michigan Activity Pass program

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Library gearing up for summer projects, including children’s reading program

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Selma Library prepares to offer e-books

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The New York Public Library Announces Historic Agreement to Display Original Copy of the Bill of Rights

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Library Catering on Wheels

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Paramus Library column: New system helps optimize Bergen County libraries

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Grand Island library offers digital magazines

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Charleston County library offering free digital copies of magazines

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Orange libraries offer free technology training online

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Found and listed by Mosio for Libraries – Patron Support Software for Libraries. All copyright belongs to original owners.