Friday, December 25, 2015

Library Mascots, Part 2

Months and months ago, we published a post about Why Your Library Needs a Mascot, and we thought that, since it's the holidays, it might be fun to show off some of YOUR library mascots! BEHOLD!

Henry, from AUT University in Aukland, NZ

The Cockroaches at the Niles District Library, Niles, MI


Marigold the Guinea Pig, Mansfield Public Library, Mansfield, CT

Marigold rocketed the old book drop off to be painted


Rufus the Bobcat, Montana State University Library



 Shawn, the Guinea Pig at the Hampton Bays Public Library, Hampton Bays, NY

Santa is star-struck by meeting Shawn


Captain Cushwa-Leighton, Cushwa-Leighton Library, St. Mary's College, Notre Dame, IN


Booker T. Dragon, Gretna Public Library, Gretna, NE



Gnoman, the Roamin' Gnome, Southwest Baptist University Libraries, Bolivar, MO


Spoticus, Metropolitan Library System, Oklahoma City, OK



REPETE, Pine Grove Middle School Library, East Syracuse, NY


Biblioraptor, Rutgers University Libraries, Camden, NJ

Thank you to everyone who shared their mascots! We love seeing all your great ideas. Feel free to share with us on our Twitter or Facebook page, or comment here.

Don't forget to check out our previous post, Why Your Library Needs a Mascot.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Ready-to-Go Book Display: Origami

Welcome to our series, "Ready to Go!" Book Display. Once a month, we'll highlight the latest or greatest for every age group (Adults, Teens and Children) that you can promote within your library or order for your collection. 

Encourage staff and patrons to create origami for your display!

Recommendations for
A collection of 3D origami designs and techniques.

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Floragami by Armin Taubner (Mar 2014)
Create stylized versions of real flowers, whimsical fantasy flowers, and beautiful floral balls and wreaths - 40 designs in all - using cut, folded, and glued paper.

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Origami for Busy People: 27 Original On-the-Go Projects by Marcia Joy Miller (Nov 2011)
This little book provides a variety of shorter and longer projects than can be completed during a coffee break, over lunch, or whenever a mini vacation is required.

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The Lost Art of Towel Origami by Alison Jenkins (Oct 2005)
Stun your guests by skillfully creasing and crinkling your linen into works of art.
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Uber Origami: Every Origami Project Ever! by Duy Nguyen (Mar 2010)
Includes instructions for creating origami animals, mythical creatures, man and machine, holiday origami, and irregular origami.
Recommendations for Teens:

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Kusudama Origami by Ekaterina Lukasheva (Jan 2014)
A kusudama is a traditional Japanese sphere formed by modular origami construction techniques. This guide presents instructions for more than forty elaborate kusudama that range in shape from stars to flowers to pinwheels.

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Twenty adorable all-new designs are perfect for anyone who loves fashion, friends, and folding.

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Waiting to Forget by Sheila Kelly Welch (Oct 2011)
T.J. and his sister, Angela, learn how to move forward and be happy while in foster care.

 Recommendations for Children:
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Kitanai the origami dog introduces soil and discusses the different layers, including topsoil, bedrock, and subsoil.

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A pirate girl travels through mountains, valleys, a cave and finally by sea to reach the treasure her grandfather has hidden for her, in an imaginative adventure that lets the reader recreate the story through an origami activity at the end.

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The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger (Mar 2010)
Sixth-grader Tommy and his friends describe their interactions with a paper finger pupper of Yoda, worn by their weird classmate Dwight, as they try to figure out whether or no the puppet can really predict the future. Includes instructions for making Origami Yoda.

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 Sadako's Cranes by Judith Loske translated by Kate Westerlund (Sept 2015)
Sadako, who survived the nuclear blast at Hiroshima but develops leukemia years later, learns that folding one thousand paper cranes will grant her one wish, and she sets out on her task, hoping to recover from her illness.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Spoilers, Sweetie

I am excited to announce a new segment to the 5 Minute Librarian titled: Spoilers, Sweetie!. This segment will be very different from our other ones because we're starting it with a call for help:

We're looking for readers who can help us write spoilers! Here's your chance to join the 5minlib team and help librarians everywhere! If you like to read and your soul doesn't die when you share a spoiler, this is for you!

Scandalous, I know. But let's look at the facts:

#1. More Books are Published Than You Can Read in a Year

Even if you read a book a day, you won't be able to read every single new book that is published. (Just in YA Lit alone, Goodreads lists over 1,400 YA books were published this year.) That doesn't even cover all of the books that are currently in your collection that you haven't even read yet. If you are a new librarian who isn't familiar with previous publications, good luck to you! 

#2. Librarians Aren't Paid to Read

Wouldn't it be wonderful if all we did was sit, read, and then recommend? We all love reading -- you can't get into this profession without it -- and we're expected to know our collection, but reading must be done on our own time. I get it -- it is hard to justify paying someone to read when librarians are needed for circulation, ordering, programming, teaching classes, patron help, etc. But this is our FREE time we're talking about and many of us are also balancing second jobs, families, and so many other commitments. How many books can we realistically read? It is never enough.

#3. Librarians Don't Love Every Genre or Book They Read 

Not only do you need to read on your own time, but it's also in genres and titles that you don't even enjoy. Wouldn't it be nice to read a bunch of spoilers and then pull the book off the shelf to read a few chapters for the reader's advisory info? It doesn't take long to figure out the pacing and style of writing. Five minutes and you have a new book under your belt that you can booktalk for the appropriate audience.

#4. Why Spoilers?

Let's be honest. Librarians have NEVER read every book that is published. It isn't possible! So, many people have found other ways to build their RA toolbox. I've heard of reading lots of reviews to skimming books to bouncing around on audio books. We're putting in so much time and effort to become acquainted with as many books as possible. 

But it isn't a perfect system. For starters, if you are anything like me, as you're trying to skim, you become hooked in the book and end up reading it anyway. If I knew the spoilers ahead of time, I wouldn't have that problem. Other people struggle with this because they worry about content warnings -- how much sex, violence, and death are in this? The only way to know for sure is to finish the darn book.

#5. Are You Worried You'll Kill the Love For Reading?

All of our posts will list the titles at the top of the page and we'll link them to their spoilers and back up to the top. We don't want to spoil anything you really want to read. In fact, we are hoping that this series will free up your evenings so that you CAN actually read what you want to. Because we love reading. We already have To-Be-Read book lists that we'll never finish. But we all also have genres we're not interested in and popular books that we just cannot make ourselves read. Let us at 5minlib do that dirty work for you!

#6. What Can I Do?

If you enjoy reading and willing to write up spoilers, please fill out this form: We are going to begin this series by spoiling the award-winning books. You'll get to pick what book(s) you want to read and must be able to submit spoilers within a reasonable deadline (one month). It is simple, and the more people who participate, the quicker we can share these spoilers with everyone and possibly branch out to other niche-genres. You will be credited for your work!

#7 And What is With this Title? 

For those of you who don't know, I'm about to up your geek cred a little bit:
On Doctor Who, the amazing BBC sci-fi series, the Doctor has a (super awesome) love interest named Professor River Song. Since they are both time travelers, they don't tend to meet in the right order - one may have already had an experience that the other has not yet had. In order to keep things exciting, River Song discourages speaking about these things, with the warning: "Spoilers, Sweetie." We love that phrase and decided to name our series after it.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Weeding 101

One of my favorite, but often overlooked, aspects of librarianship is weeding.  It's a good thing, every so often, to take a look at our collections in specific areas and weed out the old, junky stuff, and think about getting some nice, shiny, new stuff that will last us a while longer. I try to weed on a schedule throughout the year, but when something comes up - a holiday, a new season of sports - it's nice to take a look at that aspect of the collection. "Hey, I keep hearing about the Red Sox. Is our sports section up to date?"

Weeding 101

If you're new to weeding, or librarianship in general, you might wonder why we get rid of perfectly good books. There are several reasons, including:

  • If a book isn't circulating and hasn't for a while, it is taking up shelf space that could be used for something that would circulate.
  • It's nice to have a robust collection, but too many books on a shelf means that people won't take the time to browse through them - it's overwhelming. It sounds counter-intuitive, but fewer books on a shelf means more overall circulations. 
  • Sure, it's in perfect condition, but do you really want to be the library that still has the biography of Milli Vanilli on the shelf?

Here are some things to look out for when going through your collection:
  • Circulation statistics - I often start a weeding project by looking at the statistics. Have these books circulated in the last 2-3 years? If not, is it something that is important to have? Here in the realm of the Children's Room, we keep a lot of things that don't circulate too often, because I would so much rather have something and not use it, than not have it when needed. Such as: anything involving child abuse, parents going to prison, death... I hope these books aren't needed, but I'm not pulling them just in case they are. (I will, however, make sure they're not old and crusty.)
  • Age - Do you have books that are "perfectly fine" but super old? Perhaps there's a newer version where everyone isn't wearing bell-bottom jeans in the pictures. I try to make sure any books I weed are at least 5 years old, but that depends entirely on your own collection. In many Young Adult collections, a 5 year old book is positively ancient. The CREW Method gives great age guidelines for each section of your nonfiction.
  • Condition - Obviously, anything moldy, musty, dusty, yellowed, or falling apart should be either replaced or gotten rid of completely.
  • Usefulness - Okay, so the book is great shape, and it goes out every so often. But do you really need 5 different biographies of Rutherford B. Hayes? That's up to you.


If you use an ordering system like Ingram, you can scan in the book's ISBN (or type in the title) and it will bring it up for you. You can then click the Dewey number and it'll give you a list of other books (possibly newer and better books!) with the same Dewey number. How easy is that?! For example, I recently decided that, since it's December, I should take a look at my DIY gifts section, and I am really glad I did (more on that in a second). When I scanned in the barcode, Ingram gave me the author, title, etc., and this additional information:
Ah, 745.5! Just as I suspected!
When you click on the linked Dewey number listed, it takes you to a list of titles that also have that number, which you can then sort as you see fit. On the left, you can search within your results ("you know, I have nothing about paper airplanes"), or refine your results by clicking on format, age range, price, etc. I like to first refine my books by age range, and then sort by Ingram Demand (using the drop-down menu at right) - this gives me the titles that have been bought the most recently, which means they're the popular ones which will circulate, which is what I want.
So many books to choose from!

For Example...

Since it is December, I've decided that I needed to give a little TLC to:
  • DIY gifts
  • cooking/baking
  • kids holiday books
I found the best "gems" in the gifts/crafty section. Somehow, these titles didn't show up last time I went through here, but they have not circulated in two years, and as such, I got rid of them. 
Celebrate Helen Keller's birthday by learning sign language, and learning
about the 5 senses, 2 of which poor Helen couldn't use.
The only book I was really undecided about was Rosie O'Donnell's Crafty U: 100 Easy Projects the Whole Family Can Enjoy All Year Long, which had some really cute craft ideas. I weighed the pros and cons of this one. PROS: Cute ideas, in fairly good shape. CONS: Has not circulated, some ideas are dated, Rosie's show isn't on TV anymore, so she's not a name that people are on the lookout for. Ultimately, I decided to weed the book, because I realized, upon taking a closer look, that some of the pages were badly torn. But that's the best part of weeding - it's all up to you. You have the final decision on whether something stays or goes. Even if the book hadn't circulated and Rosie isn't on TV anymore, if I decided that I liked the ideas in the book, I could decide to put it right back on the shelf. 

Total time taken: 3 hours
Total books deleted: 14
Total new books ordered: 4

I always love finding books to weed. It's especially fun when it's a new collection and you don't know what you're going to find, but even in a place where you've been for a while, it's fun to get your collection into shape.

I'd love to hear about some of the more interesting things you've found while weeding! You can leave us a comment here, on our Facebook page, or on Twitter.

(Please note: this blog post was written by Kat.)

Friday, November 27, 2015

We’re Thankful For…

Not many people realize this, but we actually have three librarians who blog for the 5 Minute Librarian. Today, we thought we would introduce ourselves and share three things that we're thankful for in the library world!

Jess B., Teen Librarian

Jess blogs about social media, marketing, technology, helpful librarian tips and tricks, and Teen Librarianship. She started the blog in August 2014 and is incredibly grateful that Kat and Allie (listed below) joined the blogging crew so the 5 Minute Librarian will have fresh content every Friday.  

1. Full Text Reviews on Ingram

    When I started my professional librarian position four years ago, I used to have to share all of the big journals with my colleagues. Sometimes, it took months before those journals would end up on my desk and all the new books would already be out. So, it really rocked my world when I learned that you can inexpensively upgrade Ingram (and Baker & Tayler) so you can get full text reviews from ALL the big journals for each hardcover they sell. Now, every two weeks, I get a pre-made cart where I can preview the five starred reviewed books and easily decide to keep/delete. No waiting for paper journals, no typing in ISBNs, no wondering if I already ordered it. What a HUGE time saver! You also can make carts for all reviewed books (not just 5 stars). I still get the journals in the mail, but now I just read them for the articles. (I explain this in more detail in a previous post.)

2. Library Extension for Chrome 

    This is sooo awesome! If you use Chrome (and a Firefox version is coming soon), you can install the Library Extension. You can get your library added to the list, if it isn't already. Then when you are on Amazon or Goodreads, you can see if your library already has it. I've found it so useful for collection development, especially when I am looking through their top lists. Do I need to order it or do we already have it? Look at the extension (which shows the information on the right or middle of the page) and get the answer.

3. Librarian Facebook Groups

     Last February, I created the big list of Librarian Facebook Groups because I found them to be so useful. It has gone viral many times, so I don't think I am alone in saying -- they're a much needed lifeline! Being the only Teen Librarian in my library, it is wonderful to have a place to go with my teen questions and get such great insight back. And, since we all wear many hats in this profession, I am also grateful for the programming group, and social media, and marketing and... You get the point. Frequently you'll notice, I will write a blog post highlighting a question posted and compiling all of the answers. There has been so much great insight in these groups, I save the best ones and try to write about them here, so the wisdom can be shared and easily found again.

Kat E., Children's Librarian

Kat blogs about marketing, databases, programming, hot library topics, and Children Librarianship.

1. Canva

I know, I know. We sing the praises of Canva all the time. In fact, someone the other day was just asking (on a librarian Facebook group) what program we use for our posters, and I couldn't stop talking about it. Why? Well... In a nutshell:
  • It's online, so I can get to it from anywhere.
  • It's easy to edit, add to, change colors and fonts, and really make things look professional without having to worry about creating everything from scratch.
  • They have a lot of pre-made images that are free and all sorts of "text" design boxes that look professional where you can just add your own words. 
  • I like the pre-made layouts and picture frames - it's just so easy to customize. 
  • I like that it saves things I've done before, so I can not only update designs, but add in a logo that I've already uploaded, or a photo I've used before.

    2. Social Media

    In addition to the specific librarian Facebook groups that Jess discussed above (which I love), I am thankful for social media in general - especially Facebook and Twitter. I am able to keep current with ongoing trends in libraries and get some amazing ideas because I speak with and follow authors, illustrators, publishing houses, public libraries, and other librarians, many of whom I met way back when I was in library school. Just by spending a few minutes a day reading what everyone else is up to, I am constantly coming up with ideas of my own. "Hey, they're doing a stuffed animal sleepover! I haven't done one of those in ages!" "Ooo, there's a new book coming from this author I like! Better put it on my To Be Ordered list now, so I don't forget." "Hey, they have this performer coming to their library? Maybe we can block-book."

    3. Inter-Library Loan

    I'm lucky that my library is part of a consortium of about 150 libraries. If something is checked out at my library or if we don't have it at all, I can usually get a copy within a week, delivered right there with my name on it. It's awesome - and not just for me, but for all the kids who want to watch a specific movie that we do technically own, but has been checked out for like 4 years and it's in the Disney Vault so I don't want to spend $150 replacing it (I'm looking at you, Lion King!).

    Allie C., Head of Teen Services

    Allie posts the monthly "Ready to Go" Book Lists, finding books for the three different age groups that librarians can display or order for their collection.  

    1. Ingram Carts

    Like Jess, I love the full text reviews on Ingram. I know some of my coworkers love the automatic shipments for popular authors. What I love about Ingram is our carts. I got the idea from a coworker and I had our cataloger set up a YA-SAVE cart just for me. We never order this cart but I keep it filled with upcoming book releases, things I'm thinking of ordering and more. Every month I go through the cart and move anything I want to order to my current cart. It really helps keep me organized. I also love that you can easily see on the right hand side if you've ordered a particular book from Ingram before or if it's already in your cart.

    2. Google Drive

    I love that I can work on documents at work, home, or on the go with the Google Drive app. It's easy to share documents and collaborate with others. I also love Google Forms for creating quick staff polls to feedback surveys for my teens. I also use it while working with the YALSA Quick Picks committee. It really helps us stay organized.

    3. My Coworkers

    It is going to sound cheesy but I wouldn't get nearly enough stuff done without my coworkers. I'm thankful for each and every one of them. From our cataloger who works quickly and efficiently to process our newly arrived books to our library assistants manning the desk while I'm running a program, their help and support  allows me improve my ideas and get things done. I would also be remiss in not mentioning my incredibly supportive director who gives me the freedom to plan and try new programs and advocates for the staff, my teens, and our library. 

    And Lastly, We're All Thankful for You, Our Readers. 

    Your comments on our posts (both here and on social media) make the time and effort we put into maintaining this blog so worthwhile. We are far from being librarian experts, but we did learn a few things in our many years of librarianship. It has been fun writing for you, and we look forward to many more years doing so!

    Happy Thanksgiving! If you have anything you're thankful for in the world of libraries, please share below! We'd love to hear from you.

    Friday, November 20, 2015

    Ready-to-Go Book Display: Coloring Books (Great for Gifts too!)

    Welcome to our series, "Ready to Go!" Book Display. Once a month, we'll highlight the latest or greatest for every age group (Adults, Teens and Children) that you can promote within your library or order for your collection. 

    Adult coloring books are hot! If you are looking to start a collection, books for beginning a coloring program or for a great gift idea this holiday season check out these great titles:

    Books I Recommend:

    If you love Harry Potter you need this book in your life.

    Westeros comes to life in this book.

    My coworkers obsessed with Outlander love this book.

    Elsa and Anna are waiting for you!

    Just in time for the new movie.

    Your favorite princesses are here.

    Get into the holiday spirit with these designs.

    I love the use of color in the this book.

    Color Me Calm by Lacy Mucklow
    What could be more calming than coloring a waterfall or sunset?

    A coloring book and a scavenger hunt together.

    Love these designs based on tattoo art.

    Books Coming Out Soon:

    Feb 2016

    Jan 2016

     March 2016

    Dec 2015

    Friday, November 13, 2015

    Top Ways to Advertise Library Programs - Part 3

    Welcome to the third installment of the Top Ways to Advertise Library Programs! In Part One, we discussed posters and the best places to use them. In Part Two, we talked about media and social media. Very useful! But this week... we get to talk about the FUN stuff.

    Why try some unusual advertising ideas? Well, the main reason is that the sillier your idea is, the more likely it will get noticed. Also: I'm a strong believer in the philosophy that, if you have fun with what you do at your library, then others will, too.

    Unusual Advertisements

    This is where you can really get creative. Here are some ideas I have used in the past; I'd love to see yours, too!
    • Sidewalk signs - I used to have these amazing sidewalk signs! They were plastic, and you'd draw on them with paint pens, which would wash off with window cleaner (but not just water, so they were safe to use in the rain). I had several of them, in both black and white, and I used to be able to get super creative with them. After all, they had to be read by people driving past, who were busy with driving, listening to music, and all the other distractions of daily life. In addition, our movie license did not allow us to use the name of the movie outside the library. What's a girl to do?
    If that girl is me, she draws somewhat-recognizable characters from the movies in question, and puts them on the sidewalk. (Did you guess Ghostbusters and Wreck It Ralph? A gold star for you!)
    • Window paintings and bulletin boards - large, colorful, and eye-catching designs are best, and also fun to make. I made this bulletin board for our Moomin Party, and we got tons of attention for it. (Mostly, "what's a Moomin?" but that's totally fine by me - let's get a conversation started and I can sell you on it.) In addition, we discovered that the paint markers we used on the lawn signs (above) could also be used with no ill effects on the painted metal doors of the elevators. WIN! I drew R2D2 for our mini Comic Con (GeekCon), and he got us a lot of attention.

    • Chalk drawings - Pull out the bucket of chalk and get to work on the driveway, parking lot, and sidewalks. We did this a lot with the Geek the Library campaign, and I remember it from when I was in college - clubs would have big arrows and drawings on the sidewalks to let people know about meetings. 
    • Wearable ads for programs (or the library in general) - I can't tell you how many times I had someone ask me what "What do you Geek?" meant, when they read it on my t-shirt. Many libraries will make buttons that patrons (especially teens) will wear to support upcoming or ongoing events and clubs. This also works for lanyards (particularly for college kids) and reusable bags. I can't tell you how happy it makes me to see people walking around town with their "I <3 My Library!" tote bag.
    • Wearable ads from programs - Our teen librarian did a program with henna tattoos during the last week of school: "where did you get that?!" turned right into an ad for the library. This also worked for my tween Jewelry Club. "Where did you get that necklace?" "I love your bracelet!" "I made them at the library!"
    • Props and cardboard standees - When we had our first Doctor Who Day, I made a TARDIS out of an old partition, and we borrowed the beautiful David Tennant (sadly, a cardboard version) from a fan of the show. Not only did an amazing number of people walking through the door say, "it's the DOCTOR!," but we had people stop to take their photo with him... and there was a poster he wore around his neck, advertising the party, thus giving them all the information they needed- right in the photo!
    Photo credit to Tina McEvoy, Lawrence Library, Pepperell, MA
    We also had two (long story) Darth Vader standees. One day when I was feeling particularly daring, I crawled out and put one of them on the balcony that overhung the reading room, where he quietly loomed over our patrons. When people noticed him, they might also notice the "MAY THE FOURTH BE WITH YOU" sign advertising our Star Wars party. 

    Side note: I kept Darth in the Children's Room for a while, until one small child turned around to see him right behind her. People don't seem to have an issue with a random Harry Potter hanging around, but a random villain can be scary. Just a heads' up.

    Did we miss anything awesome? Please let us know in the comment
    s here, on our Facebook page, or on Twitter! We would love to hear from you!

    Missed our other posts? Check out: