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Interview with Librarian, Allison Barron

index.1It was very nice of Allison to accommodate us for an interview about her library Washington Parish Library. She boasts that what makes her library unique apart from others is the fact that it serves a rural population. The use of the internet in their library has opened doors to many new users and that is something they are also proud of. They actually do advertisement in order to attract more children to go to their library and read. Read more about their library at www.washington.lib.la.us


Where is your library and how can I access your website?

The Washington Parish Library consists of four branches and is located due north of New Orleans. We are not served by a major interstate highway, just state routes. Our website is www.washington.lib.la.us and the public has access to language, career development and many online titles and database choices.

What sets your library apart from others?

Other public libraries in the region serve populations of over 100,000. The St. Tammany Parish Library, to our south, serves a population of 250,000. Our western neighbor, Tangipahoa Parish services a population of roughly 150,000. What makes Washington unique, relative to these libraries and others is the fact that it is outside of a major urban center and serves a rural population. We also serve some of the lower counties in Mississippi that surround us (Pike County, Walthall County and Marion County). Our own patron population is roughly 45,000 and we serve them with two moderately-sized, one small and one “micro” location in the town of Enon. What really sets WPL aside from many of the other larger libraries is the fact that we treat our patrons well. For a small library, we offer Louisiana endowment for the Humanities programs, Saturday Movie Matinees as well as Story Times and Children’s programming. We also offer a variety of adult programs under the mantle of “Library After Hours” which can run the gamut of anything from introductory computer training to genealogy and historical discussion groups. In the coming years I plan to seek out local craft groups to try to bring them into the fold of the library. If they teach their craft, we’ll let them meet. I think the one thing that sets us apart from our sister libraries is the fact that we are small, but have the ability to meet most of our users’ needs without having to reach out to far for help.

I know you’ve seen hundreds of books this year, Allison. What are the most noteworthy books you have read recently?

That’s kind of a hard call – there is so much out there and I have very little time to order, so I try to read as much as I can, but I am a C-Span Junkie and like to catch “Afterwords” to see many of the authors book talking the latest works. Recently, I have read part of Bill Clinton’s “Back to Work” and found it pretty fascinating.

With so many things you can do at your library, which ones seem to be the most popular?

The use of the Internet has opened the library to many new users. While we traditionally have a built-in clientele, the Internet has opened us up to many who might not have used the library before. With the current economic issues, we have become the unemployment office. With the closure and consolidation of many of Louisiana’s Social Services offices, we have become their portal. We have, in effect, become a community/Parish (County) level agency for employment, social services and must be responsive to the needs of the community. As I said earlier, we are a rural area and we do not have high-speed Internet access available to the citizens of the parish. The only place that does have it, free of charge, is the library. This is one major draw. Another is the fact that we have a knowledgeable staff and a Reference librarian here to help. I find that there are two distinct types of users in the library today: the traditional ones and the digital ones. The traditional ones want books, magazines and print media. The digital ones require a completely different skill set and content. The digital user is more demanding, but has infinitely more choices. The traditional user has what’s on shelf or available via Interlibrary Loan. There has been a lot of demand for e-texts and e-audio books, but I have to find a funding source and a vendor who will best meet our needs. I do see this as becoming a reality for us, but the price for a small library is rather steep. I just started here in September. Something programs and Ideas seem to work well in one location, only to not do so well in another. Anything that involves history or genealogy seems to do pretty well. I am betting the farm that traditional crafts, etc to meet this need.

Do you book speakers via Skype? If so, how would someone interested in speaking, reach out to you?

I would be interested in using Skype, BUT, as I said, we live in a very traditional community and I would prefer to book someone in person and have them come to the two larger branches. A few years back we did a living history and book signing, replete with a 12-pounder gun being fired down main street and compete Civil-War Era Dress. It woke up a few people, but was fun.

There are organizations that are promoting independent authors books, are you open to displaying these in your library Allison?

YES!!! In other libraries, I have reached out to authors to sell their books and had them lecture. It was fun all around and very illuminating.

How many books would you say you purchase in your library every year?

I haven’t been here a full year yet, but if I had to estimate, it would be between 1,800 and 2,000.

Where do you buy your books? Ingram? Amazon? Overdrive?

Baker and Taylor, plus a whole host of smaller vendors.

What type of books are you searching for?

I am searching for things that I know the community might want – traditional mysteries, light-hearted mysteries (Evanovich), Historical fiction, biography, craft and how to manuals. I’d like to build a collection that mirrors its community: one that is utilitarian but with some items that provoke thought and dialogue.

What kind of books do you wish publishers would make more available?

More self-instructional and inspired fiction I suppose. I also would like to see more things available in Spanish or I’d like to be made aware of them. We have a small collection, but it isn’t terribly large. Allison, o you think there is a need for more works in both English and Español to serve the Latin market? If so, in which genre? Yes. We could use some general fiction materials such as mysteries, general fiction that caters to age groups within the Hispanophone community and probably titles that might help with course instruction, etc.

What are you doing personally to entice the younger generation to read more?

I have mandated that we have and “advertise” for our services to the community. We cannot wait for them to come, so we must go fishing for them. We have to make the community aware of what we are and what we do because the traditional wait and see model is no longer valid. I prefer an activist approach, preferring to be in the face of the public than to sit here and hope for the users to walk in. By taking an outside sales model as my approach, I think it would be easier to reach the community as a whole. Using the Internet to email and approach others I think helps tremendously.

Do you offer eBooks at your library? Who supplies you with them?

Through the State Library, we offer some E-book titles through EBSCO and Britannica. Our user-base at this time is still mostly rooted in the “traditional” model I mentioned earlier. I think they would definitely be into downloadable audio and at some point, would look to e-texts. To put it another way, we still have VHS tapes here. This will soon change, but it gives you an idea that things move as quickly as ice flows on a glacier.

The book industry was shaken by the economy. How was your library affected?

The housing market here was not terribly affected. All-in-all, Louisiana and its rural areas especially, have not suffered 10-15 percent unemployment as have many communities. Hurricanes Katrina and Rita literally rewrote all of the demographics for the lower half of the state, these are effects that socio-economically, we’ll be dealing worth for a generation. This is not a high-income area, but its people are very industrious and know.

With so much distracting people today, and with the affects of the recession, Allison, how do you get more and more people to come into the library instead of staying home playing video games?

To a certain extent, we try to get media to cater to those who fall into our natural market. In the case of the kids who use the Wii, DS-Lite and gaming, they typically have an interest in being competitive. I will try in the coming months and this has been done in other local systems, to do specific teen movie nights, Wii competitions and reading groups that cater to their interests. I know that manga and anime are very prevalent for younger boys right now as are the whole zombie craze. Also, for the girls, there the whole vampire thing. I think a tie-in between the movies/books would help to let them express themselves as well as bring them in. You never know, a library sponsored “why I am a zombie: e­­­ssay competition might generate some interest.

Interview with Librarian, Ann Daigle

Ann is a librarian in a high school library at Hiram, Maine. As a typical school library, their type of books just depend on the teachers need. For Anne, the best way to entice the younger generation to be attracted in reading books is to listen to their wants and needs and buying books that are of interest to these students. Read more of Anne’s interview…

 

Where is your library and how can I access your website?

Ann: Hiram, Maine (south western part of Maine near the White Mountains of New Hampshire)

What sets your library apart from others?

Ann: Our little library is pretty typical as far as high schoollibraries go.I find that the changes in technology without an increase in library budget has created libraries that are struggling to keep up with teens that tech savvy.

I know you’ve seen hundreds of books this year, Ann. What are the most noteworthy books you have read recently?

Ann: I have read allot of new fiction for teens hoping to generate more reading among the students.My plan seems to be working and circulation of new titles is up.The female students like the Ellen Hopkins series of books, Sarah Dessen, and Jodi Piccoult.The male students still generate to true stories of adventure and survival in the wilderness type books.Also graphic novels are popular in the last couple years, especially the ones that are Manga type books.

With so many things you can do at your library, which ones seem to be the most popular?

Ann: I keep busy in teaching research skills in finding the best possible materials/resources for each various topics for students/staff.

Do you book speakers via Skype? If so, how would someone interested in speaking, reach out to you?

Ann: email is best

There are organizations that are promoting independent authors books, are you open to displaying these in your library Ann?

Ann: yes to an extent…. I don’t have much room at this time

How many books would you say you purchase in your library every year?

 Ann: about 60 to 100

Where do you buy your books? Ingram? Amazon? Overdrive?

Ann: Follett

What type of books are you searching for?

Ann: depends on teacher requests and needs each year change

What kind of books do you wish publishers would make more available?

Ann: I can find what I need usually.

Ann, do you think there is a need for more works in both English and Español to serve the Latin market? If so, in which genre?

Ann: we only have one student who is Hispanic and ESL, so needs are not great in this area at our school.

What are you doing personally to entice the younger generation to read more?

Ann: Buying books that of interest, listening to students and their wants and needs.

Do you offer eBooks at your library? Who supplies you with them?

Ann: yes, Maine InfoNet Library

The book industry was shaken by the economy. How was your library affected?

Ann: cut 1/3 of my budget

With so much distracting people today, and with the affects of the recession, Ann, how do you get more and more people to come into the library instead of staying home playing video games?

Ann: Since we are a school library, I have a captive audience :)

Interview with Librarian, Karen Salmans

library (2)We had a very interesting interview with Karen Salmans, librarian at the Hanston City Library. According to Karen, the best way to entice the young generation to read more is to purchase books that they like and have a nice selection of books from your library to get the kids’ attention. So far, everything that they need are available in their library. Know more about Hanston City Library by visiting swkls.org/hanston .

 

Where is your library and how can I access your website?

Karen: Central Kansas, Hanston....swkls.org/hanston

What sets your library apart from others?

Karen: mostly the inspirational fiction

I know you’ve seen hundreds of books this year, Karen. What are the most noteworthy books you have read recently?

Karen: TheHelp, The Last Jihad Series by Joel Rosenberg

With so many things you can do at your library, which ones seem to be the most popular?

Karen: the computer, bar none, is the popular item

Do you book speakers via Skype? If so, how would someone interested in speaking, reach out to you?

Karen: only at home

There are organizations that are promoting independent authors’ books, are you open to displaying these in your library Karen?

Karen: they don’t usually go over very well, I’ve stopped getting them.  We are a very small library with a small budget, so I only usually purchase what my patrons ask for and try to keep up with all the latest of their favorite authors

How many books would you say you purchase in your library every year?

Karen: approx. 200

Where do you buy your books? Ingram? Amazon? Overdrive?

Karen: mostly amazon and Sam’s

What type of books are you searching for?

Karen: Inspirational fiction, Detective, mystery, intrigue

What kind of books do you wish publishers would make more available?

Karen: everything we need seems to be available to us

What are you doing personally to entice the younger generation to read more?

Karen: purchasing books they like, they are mostly attracted to what their friends like and the covers make the difference with kids, so try to get attractive ones that will catch their attention.  have a nice section in the library for them

Do you offer eBooks at your library? Who supplies you with them?

Karen: no

The book industry was shaken by the economy. How was your library affected?

Karen: not a lot yet, the most effect has been the Kindle

With so much distracting people today, and with the affects of the recession, Karen, how do you get more and more people to come into the library instead of staying home playing video games?

Karen: I don’t

Interview with Librarian, Amie Thomas

Amie Thomas

Amie ThomasWe had a nice interview with Amie Thomas, librarian at Brownsburg Public Library. She has specified three key things that she claims sets her library apart from others. She shares her thoughts as to how libraries (not just her own) has evolved for most people. Know more about her library online through www.brownsburg.lib.in.us

Where is your library and how can I access your website?

Our library is located in Brownsburg, Indiana.  Brownsburg is a suburb of Indianapolis (about 20 minutes northwest).  Our community is located in the second-fastest growing county in the state, Hendricks County.  Brownsburg alone jumped from 27,109 in the 2000 census to 40, 295 in 2010.  For more information about the library and our services you can visit www.brownsburg.lib.in.us.

What sets your library apart from others?

Hmmm.  I’m going to have to say there are a couple of things that set us apart.  No, make that three! :)  Bear with me as I’m a list girl…

1) We embrace new ideas.  I have never worked in a workplace where there has been such an open and receiving attitude to new ideas.  From the Director on down new ideas are welcomed.  This type of environment breeds creativity and cultivates a great place to work!

2)  Technology is a priority.  A lot of people think libraries are irrelevant in today’s world of the Internet, Twitter, and information overload.  But, we see our role differently.  We work hard to offer our community the latest technology.  This past year we received a Library Services and Technology Act grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and used that funding to set-up a Creative Media Lab.  The focus of the lab is to utilize new technology to help our patrons preserve the past and create new memories for the future (for more information visit www.brownsburg.lib.in.us/cml.html.  We see a digital divide on a daily basis in our building and recognize as librarians that it’s our responsibility to bridge that divide and help educate our community.  Whether it’s someone unemployed, who’s not familiar with computers at all or someone knee-deep researching prohibition for a novel they’re writing we’re here to help.  My favorite quote that sums this up the best is from Linton Weeks of the Washington Post, “In the global tsunami of information, librarians provide us with floaties and teach us how to swim.”

3)  Finally, I’d say our staff sets us apart.  I don’t like to brag, but I think we have the some of the most caring people on the planet.  They go the extra mile to help our community find answers.  I feel very blessed to work with the group that I do.

I know you’ve seen hundreds of books this year, Amie. What are the most noteworthy books you have read recently?

Oh Jeff!  I’m the worst person to ask this question.  I don’t have a ton of time to read and when I do it’s fluffy, chick lit. :)  One book I did read this year that got a lot of play was “The Secret Language of Flowers”.  It was a great book.  It was plugged by a representative at a conference I was at and I remember her saying you’d never look at flowers the same way again without wondering what their meaning is — so true!

With so many things you can do at your library, which ones seem to be the most popular?

Today’s libraries have become destinations.  We’re more than just books.  Don’t get me wrong, books are important — they’re our brand.  But, today people come to libraries for a lot of other reasons too.  Programs for children, computers, free wireless, a quiet space, and even a loud space.  Libraries aren’t what they used to be.  In our town, we are one of the only free places people can go to find recreation (our Recreation Center closed in 2009).  As you can imagine this takes some work on our part as we try to serve all in a way that leaves them anxious to return again.

Do you book speakers via Skype? If so, how would someone interested in speaking, reach out to you?

We haven’t Skyped anyone in yet, but that would be fun and we’d certainly be open to the idea.  We’ve just started working with our local high school to record our story times.  We hope to get a group of these together and form a web site for free, on-demand story hours of our families.

There are organizations that are promoting independent authors’ books, are you open to displaying these in your library Amie?

We currently post bestseller lists, including the Indie list.  We’re open. :)

How many books would you say you purchase in your library every year?

We added about 13,000 items last year (books, downloadables, videos, audio books, and more).

Where do you buy your books? Ingram? Amazon? Overdrive?

All of the above + Baker & Taylor.  We’ve started using Amazon more and more this year as we receive requests from our public that aren’t necessarily bestsellers, but rather unique items of interest.  It’s actually fascinating because it seems like our world keeps getting smaller and smaller as all types of materials becomes accessible and reaches our community.

What type of books are you searching for?

I don’t know that there’s anything particular we’re focused on.  Public libraries are really the generalists in the library world.  Our main goal each year is to get what our patrons ask for and to get it into their hands as quickly as possible.  In this microwave society, expedience is crucial.

What kind of books do you wish publishers would make more available?

We tend to be a general interest and bestseller library in terms of what our public asks us to buy.  So, I’m not sure I have an answer for you on this question.  We have noticed that there have been shorter runs on titles and that more and more goes out-of-print pretty quickly, so that can be a challenge.

Amie, do you think there is a need for more works in both English and Español to serve the Latin market? If so, in which genre?

We don’t have a large Latino market in Brownsburg, but the titles we do see asked for are often more the basic instructional titles (how to).  We have a healthy selection of fiction in Espanol, but it’s not really utilized.

What are you doing personally to entice the younger generation to read more?

We try to offer initiatives and incentives that will encourage our kids to read.  Like most libraries we do offer a summer reading program each year that encourages children and teens to keep reading and in turn receive prizes for meeting the challenge.  I know there are many who frown on the practice, but we’ve found it to be effective.  One of the most effective things we’ve done with our teen summer reading program is to offer a lock-in for kids who read more than 1,080 minutes over the 9-week program.  This summer alone our teens read over 500,000 minutes!

Do you offer eBooks at your library? Who supplies you with them?

Yes, we do offer eBooks.  Our supplier is OverDrive.  We began offering these in April 2010 and we’ve watched the checkouts soar!  We kicked off the program by parking a car in the building –http://overdriveblogs.com/library/author/amiethomas/.

The book industry was shaken by the economy. How was your library affected?

In 2009/2010, we started to see people waiting in line outside on Sundays to use our computers (Sunday is the first day to file weekly unemployment).  Our staff had to learn the State’s unemployment site pretty quickly in order to help people at varying levels of computer comfort file.  In addition, we offered a series of programs designed to help people find ways to save money (including a coupon club).  We weren’t alone.  Many libraries throughout the state saw a huge increase in the number of folks using their computers to not only file for unemployment, but also to search for jobs and create resumes.  The library is the one place you can go and find help no matter your socioeconomic status — what we offer is always free.

With so much distracting people today, and with the affects of the recession, Amie, how do you get more and more people to come into the library instead of staying home playing video games?

I think if anything the recession has helped drive more people into the library to take advantage of what we offer at no cost, but we do definitely recognize the vast expanse of other things people can be doing (including sitting in their jammies playing on the Wii).  We try to be diverse.  As I mentioned above, we’re not just all about books anymore.  We offer so many other things.  Programs for all ages, downloadable eBooks and audio, quality online resources (I do love Google, but…), physical space for meetings, a coffee shop, the new Creative Media Lab.  The list goes on.  There is something for everyone and it’s free (aside from their average annual taxes of about $120/year).  You can’t ask for much more than that in today’s world.

Interview with Librarian, Anne Frontino

library (1)We snagged Anne Frontino from Haddonfield, New Jersey to tell us some stories about her library. Find out how young children are cared for in this library. She also candidly reveals how much the economic times has affected their library. Visit them online through www.haddonfieldlibrary.org to find out more.

Where is your library and how can I access your website?

We are located in Haddonfield, New Jersey.  Our website is: www.haddonfieldlibrary.org.

What sets your library apart from others?

We are located in a town which was settled in the early 17th century.  Our building was built in 1918 and we recently celebrated the 200th anniversary of the library.

With so many things you can do at your library, which ones seem to be the most popular? 

Our public internet computers are busy day and night, but our busiest times are during the children’s and toddler story times.  Parents leave here with their book bags full and their arms piled high with books and videos for their children and families.

Do you book speakers via Skype? If so, how would someone interested in speaking, reach out to you?

We have never used Skype to book speakers.

There are organizations that are promoting independent authors’ books, are you open to displaying these in your library Anne?

Ours is a very old building with very little display space or room to build to build a display.  With this caveat, we would be open to ideas for promoting independent authors.

How many books would you say you purchase in your library every year?

In very round numbers (and this is a guest mate, as we have not done an annual report yet for 2011) we buy around 4000 books and about 1500 media titles per year.

Where do you buy your books? Ingram? Amazon? Overdrive?

The majority of our materials are bought from Baker & Taylor.

What type of books are you searching for?

We buy popular titles, a lot of travel (one of our most heavily used sections) and we update our medical, computer and a few other nonfiction sections every year.

What kind of books do you wish publishers would make more available? 

I would like hardcover’s to stay in print longer, but have trade paperbacks available at the same time, to give us the choice of buying a copy to last, but also a copy for the brief spurt of popularity that some titles have.

Anne, do you think there is a need for more works in both English and Español to serve the Latin market? If so, in which genre?

I’m sure that some libraries will answer yes to this question and I’m sure that there is a need, but I am not the one to ask.  Haddonfield’s demographics lean very heavily toward Caucasian and English speaking residents.

What are you doing personally to entice the younger generation to read more?

In the past 2 years, we have developed a Teen section (books, music, feature films) which is used a good bit, although perhaps not as heavily as our director thought it would be.  Our Children’s department has always been heavily used, even though it needs more room for materials, activities, and just browsing.

Do you offer eBooks at your library? Who supplies you with them?

We have been a member of a consortium in southern New Jersey for 5 years which buys from OverDrive.  We started with only audiobooks, but in the last year we have purchased nearly 2000 e-books.  Haddonfield hasdecided that in 2012, a portion of our budget, along with seed money from our Friends group, will be used to buy more e-books through OverDrive.

The book industry was shaken by the economy. How was your library affected?

Our budget over the last 2 years has been cut by more that $80,000.  During that time, the staff has dealt with furlough days and no pay raises.  We do not yet have a budget for 2012.

With so much distracting people today, and with the affects of the recession, Anne, how do you get more and more people to come into the library instead of staying home playing video games?

We have added adult programs and a new Teen section.  We promote our programs and materials through a monthly email newsletter.  Our director does outreach in the community.  All this has translated to a small, but steady, growth in circulation.

Interview with Librarian, Maggie Tarelli-Falcon

omaha-public-library-logo-1024x522Maggie Tarelli-Falcon, librarian of Omaha Public Library accommodated us for a short interview. She tells us that her library has an interesting activity for singles. Find out how they try to support local authors. You can access their site through www.omahalibrary.org for more interesting information.

Where is your library and how can I access your website?

215 S. 15th St.
Omaha, Nebraska 68102
www.omahalibrary.org

What sets your library apart from others?

Well, we have excellent programs for all ages, a wonderful genealogy center (including a digital collection) and helpful, resourceful staff.

I know you’ve seen hundreds of books this year, Maggie. What are the most noteworthy books you have read recently?

My favorite fiction author is Alexander McCall Smith, so I have read all of his Precious Ramotswe, and Isabel Dalhousie series.  He never fails to entertain.  I also would recommend “Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet” by Jamie Ford and “The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie” by Alan Bradley, “Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand” by Helen Simonsen, as well as the Steig Larssen series.  For Non-Fiction I liked, “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” by Rebecca Skloot and “Evidence of the Afterlife” by Jeffery Long.  My focus this year was on books explaining reincarnation and the afterlife.  (Not sure why—but there sure is lots written about this!)

With so many things you can do at your library, which ones seem to be the most popular?

Getting on the computer for social networking and job seeking must be #1.  However, our traditional storytelling and crafts programs are still popular as well as our newer board games and speed dating programs.  Computer programs and book clubs are also very popular.

Do you book speakers via Skype? If so, how would someone interested in speaking, reach out to you?

We do not currently book speakers via Skype but that is an interesting idea!
We have an adult program coordinator that a speaker could contact to arrange a program.

There are organizations that are promoting independent authors’ books, are you open to displaying these in your library Maggie?

Yes, we are open to displaying independent authors’ books.  We do have displays on all types of genres and subjects.  We do purchase local author’s works even if they are self-published without critical reviews, in order to support local authorship.  However, we do not purchase self published books without professional reviews.

How many books would you say you purchase in your library every year?

We added 71,355 books in 2010 (this would include donations as well as purchases)

Where do you buy your books? Ingram? Amazon? Overdrive?

The majority of our books come from Baker & Taylor, though we do purchase from Ingram, Overdrive and Amazon too.  Our audiovisual is from MidWest Tape.

What type of books are you searching for?

All kinds.  Obviously, we spend our budget on best sellers, and popular non-fiction, but we are also looking for niche collection areas too.  We are staring to build a large culinary collection to go along with our culinary conference (held last year, and possibly will be an annual event.)

What kind of books do you wish publishers would make more available?

We have just had trouble finding enough Hi-Lo books for adults.  There are plenty for young adults and children, but not so many for adults.  We have recent immigrants to this area from Africa as well as disabled adults who need these materials, and we want to provide books at a lower reading level at all of our 12 branches.

Maggie, do you think there is a need for more works in both English and Español to serve the Latin market? If so, in which genre?

Actually, we can usually find enough materials in Spanish to satisfy our patrons. We purchase books in all genres with romance being the most popular, We also purchase heavily on family, dreams, pregnancy, horoscopes, spirituality etc. in Spanish.

What are you doing personally to entice the younger generation to read more?

We have purchased AWE stations for early literacy and have some great online resources such as Tumblebooks.

Do you offer eBooks at your library? Who supplies you with them?

Overdrive supplies our eBooks. However, we are also looking at the newer vendors for eBooks such as Recorded Books, 3M, etc.

The book industry was shaken by the economy. How was your library affected?

Actually we were pretty lucky overall in Omaha.  Our unemployment rate is still about 4% so the recession did not hit as hard here as in other parts of the country.  Our library budget has stayed about the same for the past few years so no dramatic shifts in library hours, staffing or collections has taken place.

With so much distracting people today, and with the affects of the recession, Maggie, how do you get more and more people to come into the library instead of staying home playing video games?

We try to attract people into the library by advertising our various programs and events.  We co-sponsor a literary festival (LitFest) and as mentioned above do a cooking event.  We still have patrons coming in to the library to browse our collections.  We still seem to have requests for “something good to read” so our readers’ advisory services are still required!

Our eBooks and downloadable audio books are a major attraction.  Our circulation figures are sky high for these materials.  Although patrons can access our website to download them rather than having to come into the library, they are visiting our virtual library.

The recession has meant that more patrons come into the library to not only use our computers (if they can’t afford internet access themselves) but also to borrow materials that they do not wish to or can’t afford to purchase themselves.  Libraries are always busiest during a recession.  Movie prices are high and if it is free to check out a DVD at the local branch, patrons will choose to do that.  Our circulation figures are pretty steady and our gate counts are actually moving upwards, so yes people are still visiting us.

Interview with Librarian, Linda Esler

Bloomfield Public Library

Bloomfield Public LibraryBloomfield Public Library’s Linda Esler was gracious enough to share to us insights into her library. She tells us an interesting anecdote as to just how good their customer service is. She also reveals why Monday and Thursday afternoons are looked forward to by the elder patrons. For more details concerning their library, go to this link www.bplnj.org to know more.

Where is your library and how can I access your website?

Linda: Bloomfield Public Library is located at 90 Broad Street in Bloomfield, NJ.  Our website iswww.bplnj.org.

What sets your library apart from others?

Linda: Our staff has a terrific service ethic (people from nearby towns tell us they like us better than their hometown libraries) and we have worked hard to build a great collection.

I know you’ve seen hundreds of books this year, Linda. What are the most noteworthy books you have read recently?

Linda: Sybil Exposed by Debbie Nathan, Buddhism Plain and Simple by Steve Hagen, The Twelfth Enchantment by David Liss, Ashes of the Earth by Eliot Pattison, A Rule Against Murder by Louise Penny, Witches on the Road Tonight by Sheri Holman, Raw Food for Everyone by Alissa Cohen, The Butterfly Mosque by G. Willow Wilson, The Night Strangers by Chris Bohjalian, The Informationist by Taylor Stevens, Fatal Error by F. Paul Wilson

With so many things you can do at your library, which ones seem to be the most popular?

Linda: Most of our patrons are Internet addicts. (Some of them never use their library cards for anything but logging onto the computer.) Our Monday and Thursday afternoon movies are also extremely popular with seniors. DVD loans are very popular as well.

Do you book speakers via Skype? No.  If so, how would someone interested in speaking, reach out to you?

Linda: They should contact Lisa Cohn (lcohn@bplnj.org) who is in charge of booking programs.

There are organizations that are promoting independent authors’ books, are you open to displaying these in your library Miss?

Linda: I’m not quite sure what you’re asking here.  We do have book displays, generally tied to themes (holidays, current events, etc.) but with our very limited budget, I doubt we will be purchasing anything besides big best-sellers and other items specifically requested by our patrons. As we do not accept on-approval items, it is unlikely that we will have anything else to display.

How many books would you say you purchase in your library every year?

Linda: I purchased approximately 600 adult fiction titles last year. I have no idea how many I will be able to order this year.

As nonfiction is more expensive, I would guess that fewer nonfiction titles were purchased.  Perhaps a tenth of that number in Young Adult. As I have not been involved in  Juvenile purchasing in over fifteen years, I really have no idea about children’s books.

Where do you buy your books? Ingram? Amazon? Overdrive?

Linda: We order all of our books through Baker &Taylor.

What type of books are you searching for?

Linda: I want books that will be read by a large number of patrons so our taxpayers will receive the best value for their money. At the same time, I try to maintain some standards of literary quality. (People love to read junk, but I work hard to include as much well-written material as possible.)

What kind of books do you wish publishers would make more available?

Linda: Frankly, I have barely enough time to read all the reviews necessary to select the best books already published. I can’t imagine having to plow through more.

Linda, do you think there is a need for more works in both English and Español to serve the Latin market? If so, in which genre?

Linda: We have a large Spanish collection but it does not circulate well.  I doubt we will be ordering many Spanish titles in the future.

What are you doing personally to entice the younger generation to read more?


Linda: When kids ask me for a book to read, I try to suggest titles they will enjoy. (Our young adult librarian does more.)

Do you offer eBooks at your library? Who supplies you with them?


Linda: BPL does not own any eBooks but our patrons can borrow them through BCCLS connection to Overdrive.

The book industry was shaken by the economy. How was your library affected?


Linda:
Thanks to Governor Christie, our town was able to cut library funding. This resulted in reduced hours, layoffs (two out of my six reference librarians are now gone) and an almost complete moratorium on purchasing for the foreseeable future.  Staff morale is at an all-time low as we struggle to do their jobs with less and worry about losing those jobs.

With so much distracting people today, and with the affects of the recession, Linda, how do you get more and more people to come into the library instead of staying home playing video games?

Linda: Bloomfield is not an affluent community. Many of our residents do not own their own computers (as evidenced by the public workstations which are in almost constant use.) We also offer free DVD and CD borrowing in addition to books.

Interview with Librarian, Tara Samul

Tara Samul, a librarian from the Public Library of New London shares to us some insights about her library. Find out just how good their customer service is in this interview. She also shares some of their most popular classes people are clamouring to be repeated every year. Here is a link to her library to find out more: www.plnl.org

Where is your library and how can I access your website?

New London, CT;www.plnl.org

What sets your library apart from others?

We strive for excellent customer service and I think we go above and beyond for our patrons! We also have quite a bit of New London resources that other libraries don’t (i.e. complete run of The Day on microfilm, city directories, family histories). We do more than books, too. Every Tuesday night we put out the chess boards, each Wednesday evening we have Scrabble games, and every Thursday morning our Community Knitters meet.

I know you’ve seen hundreds of books this year, Tara. What are the most noteworthy books you have read recently?

Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka was a beautifully written fictional account of mail order Japanese brides coming to pre-WW II California. I also love true crime books and am fascinated by D.B. Cooper (the man who made off with $200,000 and jumped out of a plane in November 1971 and hasn’t been seen since!). Skyjack: The Hunt for D.B. Cooper by Geoffrey Gray had a new twist and theories on an old unsolved mystery.

With so many things you can do at your library, which ones seem to be the most popular?

Our notary services is very popular and it’s free! We get a lot of people in asking to have their documents notarized. Our classes (New London History, Yoga, Tai Chi, Art for Beginners) are very popular and asked to be repeated every year.

Do you book speakers via Skype? If so, how would someone interested in speaking, reach out to you?

We have never used Skype with authors before.

There are organizations that are promoting independent authors’ books, are you open to displaying these in your library Tara?

We do have independent authors who come in promoting their books. We’re not opposed to it at all but we usually don’t purchase them, instead we ask for them to be donated (most times they do!)

How many books would you say you purchase in your library every year?

About 1500 to 2000 titles each year. (This is just adult fiction and nonfiction)

Where do you buy your books? Ingram? Amazon? Overdrive?

We mostly use Baker and Taylor, but sometimes use Amazon.

What type of books are you searching for?

We use Publishers Weekly, Booklist, Library Journal to select the most popular fiction and nonfiction. Due to our limited budget we really have to choose titles and subjects that our patrons are looking for.

What kind of books do you wish publishers would make more available?

Thrillers…we can’t keep them on the shelves!

Tara, do you think there is a need for more works in both English and Español to serve the Latin market? If so, in which genre?

Yes, we have seen an increase in the number of Spanish speaking patrons come through our doors! We have a Spanish speaking staff member who has done an outstanding job getting a core collection started of popular fiction titles and study guides. I’d like to see more medical and test prep books in Spanish.

What are you doing personally to entice the younger generation to read more?

Our Spanish speaking staff member has taken over the teen market and has done a great job reaching out to them via Facebook and Twitter and has a monthly book to movie night that is becoming popular.

Do you offer eBooks at your library? Who supplies you with them?

We do through the LION consortium (our consortium of 22 public libraries in southeastern CT–New London county into Middlesex and New Haven counties). OverDrive is the company we partner with.

The book industry was shaken by the economy. How was your library affected?

We still ordering titles put out by the big publishers so we’re not seeing much of a difference. OverDrive is doing very well as more and more of our patrons are looking to download audio and eBooks.

With so much distracting people today, and with the affects of the recession, Tara, how do you get more and more people to come into the library instead of staying home playing video games?

We’re offering more programs that aren’t just about books and reading. We offer a six-week New London History series with the city historian each fall and spring. We’ve also offered art classes, Yoga and Tai Chi.

Interview with Librarian, Dana Braccia

Scottsdale Public Library

Scottsdale Public LibraryWe interviewed Dana Braccia from the Scottsdale Public Library in Scottsdale, AZ and she provided us with some insight into her personal world of books. From Skype to eBooks to the economy, Braccia shares the importance of the presence of libraries in our country. Log on to http://www.scottsdalelibrary.org/ for more information.

Where is your library and how can I access your website?

Dana: Scottsdale, AZ  http://www.scottsdalelibrary.org/


What sets your library apart from others?

Dana: Outstanding staff, services, and facilities.


I know you’ve seen hundreds of books this year, Dana. What are the most noteworthy books you have read recently?

Dana: Too many great ones to name.


With so many things you can do at your library, which ones seem to be the most popular?

Dana: People love checking out books and movies as well as our free downloadable books and music.  The library is also used as a collaborative meeting space.


Do you book speakers via Skype? If so, how would someone interested in speaking, reach out to you?

Dana: Requests may be sent in online to:

http://www.questionpoint.org/crs/servlet/org.oclc.admin.BuildForm?&institution=10662&type=1&language=1


There are organizations that are promoting independent authors’ books, are you open to displaying these in your library Dana?

Dana: The “Eat Local” movement encourages people to buy and eat food that is harvested within the community. This movement gives consumers an opportunity to discover unique community bounty and re-establishes the connection between the eater and the grower.  In that same spirit, the Scottsdale Public Library has a LOCAL Collection in order to showcase the emerging literary, musical, and filmmaking efforts of our community. This collection will introduce library users to unique homegrown talent that is not yet nationally known, and give local content producers a tangible way to connect with their audiences. Arizona residents of all ages are encouraged to submit their books, CDs and DVDs for consideration.  Info on how Arizona residents can submit materials at:
http://library.scottsdaleaz.gov/main/local_collection


How many books would you say you purchase in your library every year?

Dana: The library adds over 5000 new items each month including books, movies and music.


Where do you buy your books? Ingram? Amazon? Overdrive?

Dana: The library has three contracted vendors for physical materials: Baker & Taylor, Midwest Tape, and BWI.


What kind of books do you wish publishers would make more available?

Dana: Books that are in demand by our customers.


Dana, do you think there is a need for more works in both English and Español to serve the Latin market? If so, in which genre?

Dana: There is always a need for great materials and the genre would vary by area.


What are you doing personally to entice the younger generation to read more?

Dana: We currently see a big usage of the library by younger customers.  All of our buildings have areas for teens as well as children and these are very popular.  Our Knowasis Teen Center in our main Civic Center Library has around 10,000 visitors a month.


Do you offer eBooks at your library? Who supplies you with them?

Dana: Yes, we are part of the Greater Phoenix Digital Library and Overdrive is our supplier.

http://library.scottsdaleaz.gov/main/downloads


The book industry was shaken by the economy. How was your library affected?

Dana: The library continues to be a vital part of the community.

 

With so much distracting people today, and with the affects of the recession, Dana, how do you get more and more people to come into the library instead of staying home playing video games?

Dana: Over 70% of Scottsdale Residents have a library card and last year over 1,650,000 people came to the library. It is a very vibrant destination.  In addition, over 170,000 customers use the library’s website each month.  We are continually working to provide the materials and services our community needs.

Interview with Librarian, James Kammerer

jim k

Librarian James Kammerer of the Montana State Library in Helena, MT shares with us the library’s budget struggles in today’s economy, how he’s encouraging a younger generation to love books and what he is doing to incorporate technology into his library for a better experience. Visit the library’s website at www.msl.mt.gov for more information.

Where is your library and how can I access your website?

James: Helena, Montana.  Msl.mt.gov


What sets your library apart from others?

James: We are a state library.


I know you’ve seen hundreds of books this year, Jim. What are the most noteworthy books you have read recently?

James: State publications


With so many things you can do at your library, which ones seem to be the most popular?

James: Public access computers and the free wi-fi.


Do you book speakers via Skype? If so, how would someone interested in speaking, reach out to you?

James: We have not yet booked speakers via Skype.  Email or phone is the best way to reach me.


There are organizations that are promoting independent authors’ books, are you open to displaying these in your library Jim?

James: Only if the books pertained to state government information, natural resource information, or professional library development.


How many books would you say you purchase in your library every year?

James: Fewer than 100.  We do a lot of interlibrary loan and steer patrons towards use of our licensed databases.


Where do you buy your books? Ingram? Amazon? Overdrive?

James: Primarily Amazon.


What type of books are you searching for?

James: Books pertaining to state government information, natural resource information, or professional library development.


What kind of books do you wish publishers would make more available?

James: Books pertaining to state government information, natural resource information, or professional library development.


Jim, do you think there is a need for more works in both English and Español to serve the Latin market? If so, in which genre?

James: N/A


What are you doing personally to entice the younger generation to read more?

James: N/A


Do you offer eBooks at your library? Who supplies you with them?

James: We license Safari tech books from ProQuest.


The book industry was shaken by the economy. How was your library affected?

James: Our budget was reduced a bit.


With so much distracting people today, and with the affects of the recession, Jim, how do you get more and more people to come into the library instead of staying home playing video games?

James: Our focus is to make library resources and services available online for our patrons.