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.

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