Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Bookmobile Revisited

Paulding County Carnegie Library

Established 2011

We  have just completed the first summer of Bookmobile service to Paulding County. Actually, Paulding County enjoyed mobile library service decades ago -- a service provided by the State Library of Ohio, for a fee. But now, our library has its own Bookmobile.

After a tour month in June, the Bookmobile began a weekly schedule. Although the bookmobile would experience generator and a few mechanical hick-ups, the month was successful. Over 700 items were borrowed and over 50 patrons received new library cards.

At the end of August, we have seen over 1000 items borrowed and about 100 new cards issued. Our true measure of success was not the number of items borrowed, but the number of residents applying for  new library cards.

In September, we still have issues with the generator, but have begun a modified school schedule, serving the communities of Mandale, Grover Hill, Melrose, Broughton, Scott, Haviland, Latty, Briceton, Charloe, Five-Span, Junction, Cecil and assisted living facilities of Country Inn, Dallas Lamb and The Gardens. The Bookmobile has also begun periodic visits to area pre-schools.

As this new service evolves and grow, we appreciate the fact that we have begun a rather "old fashioned" type of delivery service in the midst of still evolving and adopting library services. On the Bookmobile, patrons can borrow everything from books to PlayAways and through the library website, access electronic books, video and music.

The children's song, "The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round" is the tune we sing... and the wheels will continue to bring the Bookmobile round and round to your neck of the woods in Paulding County. Happy Reading!

9/11/11 -- Ten Years Later

Just a short note of remembrance.

Ten years ago -- to the date, we were being visited by a technology expert of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Ten years ago, over 20 computers were being installed throughout our library system. Ten years ago, 11 computers were being installed in one of Ohio's 13 training labs funded by the Gates Foundation.

Ten years ago, our library embarked on a new service of computer training and providing public access to online information. Ten years ago, patrons saw first-hand, how their public library was evolving into a true information center. Ten years ago, the spirit of our nation and her quest to be on the leading edge of technology, had filtered to our rural county.

No amount of hatred, no amount of discourse, no amount of fear, will prevent us from being strong and loving America. We continue to live in the greatest nation on earth. Our libraries will continue to grow and adopt new services to meet the needs of generations of citizens. As long as a breath remains in our land, our spirit of freedom and love of our God, will sustain us forever.

May God continue to shed His grace on our beloved nation, our state, our county and our libraries.

eBooks -- The Latest Container

It has been a wild ride in the profession of librarianship -- especially in the past thirty years. We have adapted to new technologies and formats of delivering information.

Linda Braun, a speaker at the Rural Library Conference held in Frisco, Texas in 2011, referred to the formats as "containers", and in a sense, the term fits.

At the Paulding County Carnegie Library, where the first "container" or book was borrowed in 1916, a book about agriculture, the formats in which we have delivered information has kept up with times. We  have seen vinyl long-play albums (LPs), 8-track tapes, cassettes, compact disks, movies on VHS, movies on DVD, books recorded on cassette, books recorded on compact disks, books recorded on PlayAways, and now; books, music and video delivered electronically and downloadable on an electronic "reader" device.

It has been said, or predicted, that the book is dead, that the written page bound between two covers, will no longer be viable or wanted in a society of gadgets, gizmos, electronics, bandwidth, and technological advancements. Perhaps there will come a time where a microchip need only be embedded on the body, and the simple "thought"  of a book or information will then be downloaded onto this microchip. Who knows what the future will hold? Those who served as librarians in the past could certainly never have predicted what the "container" would look like in the year 2011. After centuries of information being delivered via the printed page, now we are bombarded with changing technologies and information delivery methods that are evolving and changing on almost a yearly basis.

Although the Paulding County Carnegie Library has kept up with the times, and although the latest "container" in which to deliver information is "electronic", the foundation of the library -- as long as I am director -- will always be books. There will always be a need for the contact with the traditional format of information, books -- which followed the first mode of delivery of information -- the oral word. I pray that the day never comes when ironically, the oral word will be the only way to remember a quaint format called "a book".

Visit your historic Carnegie library in Paulding. See where it all started. Sit back among the thousands of books, close your eyes and imagine. Imagine the years gone by, the dizzying speed at which our lives have been transformed by technology. Then, open your eyes, reach out for a book, open the covers, and read.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

New Year Ponderings

At the beginning of any new year, we have the tendency to look forward and plan for new projects. We try to set goals, which in turn provides us with a road-map - so to speak - of where we want to go. In 2011, the Paulding County Carnegie Library system will continue to improve services to all citizens of the county. Our major undertaking will be the implementation of full bookmobile service. In addition, we hope to complete a remodelling of the children's room at the Antwerp Branch library as well as improvements to both the Cooper and Payne branches.

Technically speaking, our collection will grow with the inclusion of electronic books, or e-books. The path we will take is still being mapped out, but the result will be the same. Those patrons who are now using new e-readers, such as Barnes and Noble's Nook, will be able to download e-books from the library's website for free.

Other changes will be new security safeguards implemented to help insure our youngest patrons have a good online experience by helping protect them from some of the unsavory aspects of the online world.

We will be providing computer classes for patrons with no computer experience as well as patrons who want to improve their online research skills. We will be providing classes for our new databases so that patrons can utilize the library's resources in a meaningful way.

This new year, 2011, will find the library moving in a direction that will be exciting and provide new dimensions of library service for all patrons. We hope you'll enjoy the ride!

Best to you in 2011 and Happy Reading!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

We Love Bookmobiles!

It has been a while since I have added to my blog, but it is not because of a lack of subject matter. Things are absolutely wild around the library. Use is up and we are busier than ever. It seems like we are always welcoming new users to the Paulding County Carnegie Library system.

One of the biggest pieces of news this fall and for 2011 is our acquisition of a used bookmobile. If I told you the bargain we received, you would think I was crazy. Let's just say it was over $2,999 and under $3,001! This bookmobile, once stocked, cleaned, etc. will bring library materials all over Paulding County. More details will follow, but we are all certainly excited about this new direction.
Have a wonderful fall and blessed Thanksgiving! I'll close for now and wish you "Happy Reading!"

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I've got a book published!

It was a dark and stormy night. A shot rang out. A woman screamed... So begins the beginning of Peanuts' beloved beagle, Snoopy's, book; and, usually the sign that the following tome will be a bad one, at best.

I remember all we use to deal with were "vanity presses", you know, the Who's Who of everything? You remember the letters, the ones that stated, "you have been selected, you are among an elite few, etc. etc. etc." All you have to do is submit your information, and by the way, if you want a copy of the title just send $39.95, or better yet, get an engraved collector's edition for $69.95. People would submit their information to these publishers, get their book and see themselves in print. "I'm in 'Who's Who'! they might proudly proclaim. But, the bottom line was that it did not make a hill of beans difference to a future employer. I must admit that I had been tempted on more than one occasion by the flattering offers.

Now our egos can be stroked on a different level. We can all have our books published. Just type in the search "publish my book" on Google or other search engines and see what you will find. even offers a self-publishing option. Now, don't get me wrong. I'm all for encouraging budding authors. And, we have heard of how a typed out short story distributed among friends has let to best sellers, the one that comes to mind is The Christmas Box self-published in 1993 by Richard Paul Evans for his children and later to become a bestseller plus a movie.

Besides encouraging people to "write", self-publishing does preserve their writings in a more permanent form. For public libraries there is a new challenge. What do we do with all the gift books donated by local authors that were self-published? Librarians have criteria for selecting library materials including fiction and non-fiction works. Some of the books donated by local authors are complete with grammatical errors, run-on sentences, sketchy or obscure plots, flights of fancy, etc. But do we refuse them? In a simple word, no

We try to place all donations by local authors in our collection. In the library cataloging record known as the MARC record (machine readable cataloging) there is a line where we can insert information that this book is by a local author. Some libraries put all their "local author" titles in the same location -- shelved together. We interfile our authors' works in with the popular fiction and non-fiction.

I would never discourage anyone from writing. Self-publishing (an option where the author has to pay up front in most cases) allows for instant gratification and few if any critiques. Being picked up from a major publishing house is the ultimate goal and dream of most authors. The 2010 Novel & Short Story Writers Market and the 2010 Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market provide information on where and how to sell your fiction, your children's stories and illustrations. Both are available in the 808 section of the non-fiction. The 2006 Guide to Literary Agents is found in the Reference Section under call number 070 GUI.

Visit your public library often. Read often. Write often. Be inspired. If you need help in getting pointed in the right direction, just ask. Until then, see you at the library!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

On Hiring the Best for Your Team

I have recently reviewed application after application that have been submitted for two open positions at the library. Having a ranking system helps. Ours is one we developed on our own and has served us well over the past decade or so. When we initially review applications, they are ranked into one of three categories:

3's. These applications are either not complete, not signed, or were submitted without all supporting and required documents. Part of our ranking system is based on how well the applicant has followed instructions. If the job ad states that a library application and resume must be submitted to be considered, then an application alone would be incomplete. I have seen what could have been interesting candidates disqualified because they did not read and follow basic instructions. By signing the application, the candidate is acknowledging that they have read that they will be "at-will" employees, that the information they have submitted is truthful, etc. Applications unsigned are not considered.

2's. These applications are complete and included all supporting materials. The application is signed. There may be unexplained gaps in work history or job hopping. The presentation of information may not be grammatically correct, or sloppy. There may, however, be some special skills, talents and/or experience that could be transferable to the open experience. "Twos" will be considered for interview only if the "Ones" do not work out.

1's. "Ones" are applications that are completed, neat and include all supporting materials. These candidates may have past experience that dovetails into the skills needed for library service. They have strong customer service experience, are creative, organized and inventive. They also show confidence, computer knowledge and an enthusiasm to learn new skills. These candidates are called for an interview.

By ranking the applications, the human resource team (or the library director for a small library) is able to identify the best candidates to consider for the library team. The procedure is sensible and logical. Interviews are conducted by the supervisor of the department and the director. In special circumstances, the assistant director and head of adult services may also be a part of the interview process.

Pre-determined interview questions serve as a guideline for the interview and are used to identify strengths, weaknesses and the special skills and talents of the candidates. Taking notes ensures that during the final review, the interviewers will be able to remember each interviewee.

Having a plan provides for a professional approach to the selection of interviewed candidates and the entire interview process. It is exciting and energizing to meeting quality persons who want to be a part of the library team. We just wish we could hire them all!

Happy Reading!