Posts filed under ‘Uncategorized’
by Cynthia Lambert
A funny thing happened on the way to the weekend: I found myself on Twitter looking for stuff to do!
Now don’t get me wrong–I have been on Twitter. I signed up about two years ago and have used it sporadically ever since. I like the short bursts, but they often are just links to typical stuff found elsewhere. Plus, my choices of who to follow were often disappointing. Not the real people I actually know! It was the content providers and entertainment choices I made that fell short.
From the input side, I posted some. That was fun, especially the phase where I tried to make every post use as close to the total 140 characters as possible. Still, after posting to Facebook, I didn’t find I had anything new to say. Mostly, I glanced and moved on. That began to change when I was planning my vacation.
I was heading to Northern California and some pretty tiny towns. I certainly used Google to plan and prep for the trip. However, I couldn’t get any real sense of the towns or what there was to do after hiking all day. At some point, I thought maybe I could follow a local library twitter feed and find out a few things happening while we were going to be in town. I dug about further and found a local paper, the local college, and a few government feeds for my destination. Boom, I finally found my Twitter sweet spot!!
I found information about food, gardens, and shopping. I even found a yarn shop via a garden walk. Now folks, these are a few of my favorite things! I gleefully watched the feeds for a few weeks before we arrived. It was a great trip.
After vacation, I returned home and reverted back to my Facebook and Google habits. For a few weeks that was just fine. However, one day I glanced at my Twitter feed just as @PrincetonScoop posted about an event for that weekend. The scales fell from my eyes and behold, I became a Twitter convert!
Once again, I dug around for the local newspaper, the local university and colleges, the college radio station, and a few commercial PR providers. I added a few local places I frequent. I was on my way. A treasure trove of information began to flow in: Farm Market Updates; what’s blooming in the local gardens; summer theater options at Princeton University, and of course all the great events hosted @mylibrary.
The moral of this story–always look at your resources and tools with fresh eyes.
I thought I knew what Twitter had to offer, but I was wrong. What it is, and what I want from it, have evolved over time. I now visit Twitter before I hit Facebook. I still don’t post much, but that is because I am too busy planning what to do this weekend!
Posted by: Janie Hermann
Tomorrow afternoon at 1 pm the Reference Section of NJLA will hold a meeting at Princeton Public Library so that the library community can have a dialogue on QandANJ.org and on the state of virtual reference in New Jersey.
I personally hope that the room will be packed to standing room only so that we can get as many opinions and ideas as possible. My fear is that attendance will be much smaller than it should be. I know that some will not be able to attend due to other work commitments, desk schedules, or travel distance (NJ is a pretty big state). If you are in that category, please take the time to share your thoughts with Michael Maziekien, the chair of the NJLA Reference Section, or leave comments in this post.
If you are still hesitating about attending for other reasons — such as apathy or not wanting to “rock the boat”, so to speak — then I encourage you to reconsider and take the time to come tomorrow. The key issue with this entire kerfuffle is not the decision to end funding for QandANJ, but the manner in which it was done. A decision about a statewide initiative that is staffed by librarians from over 50 libraries was made without any input from the stakeholders. This our chance to rectify the situation and have our say.
Until today my involvement with this issue since it surfaced about 5 weeks ago on April 4th has been to make several (some quite lengthy) comments based upon posts by Andy Woodworth and Pete Bromberg and to speak with other in our library community who are feeling the same sense of betrayal and shock over this decision. Pete and Andy have done an excellent job of framing the entire situation so I will not repeat what have they have said, but I did want to go officially on record as supporting their efforts to get the conversation started and not let the closure of a long-standing and beloved service be done without giving it a full and considered examination.
Tomorrow is not a “Save QandANJ” rally. It is a chance for open dialogue in which we can take steps to decide the future of virtual reference service in our state. It may very well be that the time has come to sunset QandANJ and even those of us who have been most vocal about this issue recognize this reality. Or it may simply be time to retoool the service, find new a funding model and/or scale down the service to recognize that many libraries have their own VR service and no longer need to be a member of the project.
The point is that we need to examine figures and facts, collect opinions from all sides both pro and con and then come to a consensus. This process won’t happen in one day or one meeting and I am very relieved that QandANJ has been given a reprieve to allow us time to figure this out.
I am also grateful to the NJLA Reference Section for taking the initiative to get the conversation started by calling this meeting and to Pat Tumulty and the NJLA Executive Board for issuing a statement that began with this sentence:
NJLA believes the library community must have a voice in determining the programs and services provided by state and federal dollars to the residents of New Jersey.
I have long been an advocate of the NJ State Library and have served on several committees for them over the years, including the Blue Ribbon Panel on the Future of Libraries. I continue to be proud of the innovation that is sparked in the NJ library community with the leadership of our state library. The NJ State Library has led many successful marketing initiatives that have raised the profiles of libraries and shown our value to our stakeholders. My disagreeing about the manner in which this one decision was made does not mean that I am no longer an advocate for their work or any less proud of the innovative services they provide. It simply means that we do not see eye to eye on one issue.
Some in the library community feel that those who are being vocal in their opinions are “betraying” the NJSL to openly call for a reversal of this decision and to request a meeting to discuss the future of the service. I do not see it as a “betrayal”. I see it as a way for all of us in NJ to grow as a professional community and am hopeful that the outcome will be a new way of doing business, one that is transparent and open and important decisions are given due consideration.
This has been a divisive few weeks for many, of that there is no doubt and it was evident at the NJLA conference last week. I know it has been very upsetting for many people for a variety of reasons. Let’s put that all behind before 1 pm tomorrow and work together towards a solution. If you have yet to feel free to speak up about your feelings on this issue, please find your voice and give us your feedback. Your ideas count and can impact the future of service for all New Jersey residents.
by April Bunn
San Diego has a high today of only 59 degrees, so it’s not the warm getaway I expected, but it’s still a welcome relief from the piles of snow I left behind in New Jersey.
The 2011 ALA Midwinter Meeting is underway and today the convention center was full of dedicated librarians today, scurrying off to one meeting or another, or visiting the over 450 exhibitors.
I am always impressed at how well ALA does a conference. Every person I spoke to was helpful and friendly and the speakers here are always interesting- Neil Gaiman, Nancy Pearl, and Ten Danson are on the line up for tomorrow. I am really looking forward to attending my first Youth Media Awards on Monday morning.
As Vice President of NJASL, I’m here with our President Elect, Fran King and President, Judith Everitt to attend the Affiliate Assembly meetings for AASL. I respect all of you that are attending this conference and participating in multiple committee meetings to better yourself and this profession.
In these tough times, it is crucial that we network and advocate every step of the way.
by April Bunn
Is this some kind of nightmare? No, it’s really happening.
Our state is broke and they’re coming down hard on everyone, especially education to help make up much of the 2 billion dollar deficit. Our relationship with the state government is so bad that even our acting Commissioner of Education Rochelle Hendricks decided not to address teachers at last week’s NJEA convention, as has been tradition for years.
In my post a few months ago, I talked about the recent change of our title back to School Librarian. To quote myself, and where I was at the time, “I love my job, no matter what the name or the place is called. I pledge to continue to work as hard as I can to keep my board and community aware of what I am doing as Media Specialist, Librarian, or Teacher-Librarian in our Media Center, School Library, or Information Center.”
Now it’s early November and the budget cuts were beyond devastating
to schools and school libraries. Entire districts, like Woodbridge, lost their librarians.
It’s estimated that hundreds of positions were lost. My little one school district lost its librarian too. Yes, as a result of the mid-March enormous state aid cuts, my Board was put in the position of cutting almost $500,000 and my position and program were included in those cuts (along with teachers, a secretary, all the lunch aides and part of our basic skills program). Note: I still have a job because in addition to my School Librarian certification, I also have an Elementary Teacher certificate. So, I’ve transitioned to the 2nd grade classroom of one of my colleagues who was let go.
Our library program was strong and popular. Some of the current Board members had been active volunteers through the years.
Just some of the programs that will be lost with this decision:
A Weekly Book Club, held at lunchtime
Recess Library Assistants in 4th-6th grade
Six Flags Reading Club
Collaborative projects with tech, art, and language arts on subjects such as: endangered animals and alternative energy
Recess quiet reading/study area
Student book reviews
Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race tracking
Award-winning books gallery
Reader’s advisory for emerging and reluctant readers up to voracious YA readers
Visits to the public library to promote membership and familiarity
What will happen to these libraries? In my school, classroom teachers are responsible for taking their classes to the library and allowing students to pick books. Parents in my community are volunteering to come and help with book re-shelving. While I’m always grateful for parent volunteers, they cannot replace a certified librarian. It’s a disgrace. The students will lose out in so many ways.
Pat Massey, past- President of NJASL, testified to Chairman Louis D. Greenwald and Members of the Assembly Budget Committee on March 25th, arguing that students need resource-rich school libraries that are staffed by state certified school librarians. The transcript can be found here.
I am sad and mostly angry at what happened here. To put salt in the wound, I am now Vice President of the New Jersey Association of School Librarians (NJASL) and am not even be doing the job while serving my term! I’ll work to advocate for the recall of these positions, but according my administration, we’re in this situation for a minimum of 4 years.
The outlook is bleak
I just saw a posting from a library school student on the YALSA listserv looking for a place to do her practicum in northern New Jersey and she is struggling to find a program that is still afloat. What does this mean for our award-winning MLIS/MLS programs that are producing excellent school librarians?
These budget cuts are far-reaching into the future of education. The New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) is fighting the cuts in education, and local teacher associations are rallying to get the public’s support. Barbara Keshishian, president of the NJEA, the state’s 200,000-member teachers’ union, said in a statement that the proposed budget “is a disaster for public school children and for older students who want to further their education beyond high school … Gov. Christie is slashing education in order to pay for tax breaks for the wealthy.”
Working hard and advocating for our jobs is the most important thing we can do right now.
Keep advocating. Don’t give up. Tell your towns that cutting school libraries (and public libraries) is not an option.
Keep the faith that we’ll wake up and find out that this was all a bad dream.
Actually, it has been almost two months since a new post went up here at Library Garden. We have had slow periods before in our four and a half year history as a blog, but never this slow. Several popular or longstanding library blogs such as It’s All Good, See Also and Tinfoil + Raccoon, have closed up shop in the last few months for various reasons. I must admit that lately I have been pondering hanging up my blogging hat, but I am just not quite ready for that step … I have lots left to say and I like knowing that this platform is here for me when I need it.
I have wanted to post over the last two months, had several brilliant posts written in my head during the drive to work, but my life has been consumed with planning and organizing the huge centennial birthday bash for Princeton Public Library that is happening this weekend and juggling all that happens on a daily basis between home and work.
Planning the library’s birthday party has pretty much been all of my focus for the last few weeks (as well as that of several of my colleagues).Our mantra has become ” we just need to make it to 10-10-10″. I have lists… and I have a list of lists. I have spreadsheets and schedules and hundreds of emails. In the end, it will all be worth it and we will have celebrated in style with a gala event that includes 500 people dining at the library and a community birthday party for thousands the next day.
I just needed to post today as the tents are going up on the plaza to mark the milestone of having made it to 10-8-10 with my sanity in tact — just two more days to go and I can collapse (for at least one day, before I begin my next big project). The forecast for the weather is looking great, only a few dozen more emails to send to confirm details, supplies are lined up on my desk, schedules are printed, banners are hung, staffing is in place… yup, I am ready to party (and for life to return to normal on Monday).
As for the future of Library Garden, even though I can’t say for certain as I have not had time to ask the blog team, our intent is to keep on keeping on — even if we go through quiet spells every once in a while.
Posted by Janie Hermann
The youth services department at PPL hosted a “stuffed animal sleepover” last week — such a simple program that was much loved by the kids that participated so I had to share.
Here is how we advertised this program:
Bring your favorite stuffed animal or doll for a sleepover at the library. After a lively evening of stories, music and poems at Family Story Time, tuck the animals in and say goodnight. Come back the next day between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. to pick them up and find out what mischief they got into during the night. This 45-minute program is geared to children ages 2-6 years
After the library closed, the real fun began when the animals roamed the third floor and found lots to do. Enjoy this adorable photo set of our mischievous stuffed friends romping through the library after dark!
Each child got photos of their stuffed animal to bring home as a souvenir. Hope other libraries will try this program and then post photos to share.
This is my favorite photo from the set:
Posted by Emily Knox
It’s the beginning of July and another American Library Association conference is over. One of the most amazing things about conferences is how tiring they are–at the end of the day it’s all one can do to simply crawl into bed. ALA is huge and just getting to a particular meeting via bus from the conference center to a hotel can take up to 45 minutes depending on traffic.
This year I volunteered to recruit for the Rutgers School of Communication and Information’s Department of Library and Information Science. It was so exciting to meet people who are interested in research in our field. Throughout the recruitment session I was reminded of why I started the program in the first place–I have a question that I want to answer and getting a doctorate provides me with the background and resources I need to answer it.
It will come as no surprise that the conference was filled with budget talk and the precarious state of library funding. In the midst of an economic downturn people, people tend to focus on how much libraries cost to run. Recently the Fox affiliate in Chicago asked “Are Libraries Necessary?” And all of us are aware of the budget crisis in New Jersey library funding.
However, I noticed another undercurrent to many of the sessions that I attended. People also turn to the library as a symbol of their fears in a changing and somewhat frightening world. I heard about a library board member who used the library collection as a political football. Librarians not wanting to “make a big deal” out of controversial materials and quietly removing them. (This practice increases in hard financial times – librarians don’t want to put their budgets at risk for one item). Inevitably, all of these discussions turned to policy. It is incredibly important that library policies are up-to-date and easily retrievable.
Have you looked at the policies for your board of trustees and/or library committee? Do they include a code of ethics? (This was recommended by the librarian whose board member had played political football with the library’s collection). What about the library’s form for reconsideration? Does it include a final arbiter? Do all stakeholders have a copy of your all policies and forms including the Board of Education or whatever governing body you report to? I encourage you to take the time to look through all of your policies and update any that are not current. Unfortunately, in these hard times libraries will be attacked from all sides and good policies are one of our best lines of defense.