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:

    Friday, November 6, 2015

    20 Favorite Pics from IG Challenge

    Wow, you all are awesome! The #5minlibchallenge officially ended last Saturday Oct. 31st and we were amazed by the response! As of today, 2,600 images were tagged with the #5minlibchallenge! 238 libraries/librarians from across the professions (public, schools, and academic libraries) as well as all over the US and across the ocean to Ireland and England participated. Wow.

    Dare I admit that I was just hopeful to get a few librarians on board? You all rock! Thank you for getting the word out and participating!

    Who knew you could give librarians 31 days of work and they'd pump their fists and say "I'm in!"

    We were amazed at the creativity and fun pictures that people posted. Make sure to check them out on Instagram and like them. Below are a few of our many, many favorites:

    A photo posted by Glatfelter Memorial Library (@glatfelterlibrary) on

    A photo posted by Norton Public Library (@nortonlibrary) on

    A photo posted by Mrs. Radach (@mmslibraryreads) on

    Thank you to everyone who had participated. If you would like to try the challenge, you can do it any time (it didn't have to be October). Check out our previous post with the instructions and hashtags!