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.)