Friday, July 29, 2016

Entice a Pokémon Go Player to become a Library User with these 5 Conversation Starters!

Since Pokémon Go's launch on July 6th, many "trainers" have been flocking to the library to capture Pokémon or collect Pokeballs. We've been seeing lots of great ideas of how to encourage these players to become library users (just check out the Facebook page, Library Pokémon Go Support). Today, we thought we'd come up a list of ways you can explain to them how the library works, in terms of Pokémon Go, for potential new library users!

5 Conversation Starters

  • You know how the Pokémon Go app is freely available for download to everyone? Our library is open to everyone, too, and we have a free app you can download on your phone as well. [If your library doesn't, one of your vendors might: OverDrive, Freegal, etc...]
  • Like collecting different kinds of Pokémon? We also offer lots of different kinds of items for you to check out: DVDs, CDs, Videogames, Newspapers, Magazines and more! Just like there are more Pokémon than Pikachu, we're more than books.
  • Did you know libraries are like PokeStops? They are open for anyone to visit them and if the library is on the same network as yours, your library card will work there, too.
  • Enjoy meeting new people and competing in Gyms? You can find lots of free events for any age group here at the library.
  • Like earning badges? Many libraries have competitive summer reading challenges. Find out the different ways you could win.
We're so excited to hear that many libraries are PokeStops and Gyms. One library posted online that, due to the game, 15 new people visited their library one Saturday and seven of them made a library card while they were there. So, Pokémon Go could really be beneficial to libraries, let's harness that!

If you haven't played the game before, here is a great post to help you learn about it, Everything Librarians Need to Know About Pokemon Go.

Friday, July 22, 2016

The Programming Librarian (Website Review)

Today, we're going to talk about a newish website by ALA, The Programming Librarian. They're just a little over a year old and we adore their mission. If you don't know about it yet, today is your lucky day!

Isn't this mini-notebook adorable? You can order it through the ALA store!

Browse Ideas

This website is a resource of great programs! You can search by:

  • Cost (free to $5,000+)
  • Library Type (Public, Academic, School and Special)
  • Topic 
  • Program Type
  • Age Group
Click to enlarge

Once you select a program, you'll get access to all the important details, from the marketing and planning to execution. They may even share files that you can download. You'll know exactly how much the program costs and how much time you'll need to put into it. Perfect for the busy librarian!

Share Your Own!

There is an online form you can fill out to submit your own programs. I love that they are crowding sourcing this because we all have fun ideas and great programs. The only way this website can be really successful is if we all use it and submit, so please consider doing both!

Follow Their Blogs

They have many people blogging on the website about innovative programs, which you can filter by library type, topic, and age group. Learn what other people are doing in your field!

Attend a Webinar

They also hold webinars about different types of programming. See what is coming up or check out their archives to see what you have missed.

The 5minlib Challenge

So, today we have a challenge for you. Within the next seven days, what if we all submitted our best program? Just one program, any program, that you think might be successful at other libraries, too. If now is too crazy with Summer Reading, then put it on your calendar for the first week in September. It would so amazing if we all did it.

Since, as they say:
Because all those 
author talks,
computer classes,
community dialogues,
book clubs,
art exhibitions,
and ESL courses
don't plan 

Ain't that the truth?
(By the way, we love that quote, too!)

Friday, July 15, 2016

Ready to Go Book Display: Pokémon

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. This month we are celebrating Pokémon Go! Don't forget to include your Pokémon games in your display!

Pokémon Black and White (2011-2015)
20 Volumes
Black, an eager young Pokémon trainer, sets off on a journey to explore the Unova region, where he meets White, a Pokémon trainer who runs a talent agency for performing Pokémon.

Hareta, raised in the wild by Pokémon, decides to become a Pokémon trainer. Along with his first Pokémon Piplip and his new friend Mitsumi, he sets off in search of the legendary Pokémon Dialga, but Team Galactic is hunting for Dialga too.
Pokémon: Diamond and Pearl Adventure Platinum (2014)
11 Volumes
Pokémon trainers Pearl and Diamond have a lifelong dream to star in a Pokémon comedy act, but somehow end up as bodyguards to a pampered rich girl on a quest to reach the peak of Mount Coronet.

Pokémon XY (Dec 2014-ongoing)
As the new champion of the Pokemon Battle Junior Tournament in the Kalos region, X is hailed as a child prodigy. But when the media attention proves to be too much for him, he holes up in his room to hide from everyone - including his best friends.

Shares facts on over seven hundred Pokémon and includes information on the new Kalos characters and the Mega Evolved Pokémon.

Official Guide to Legendary and Mythical Pokémon by Simcha Whitehill (Aug 2016)
Discover facts and stats about over 50 of the most amazing, intriguing Legendary and Mythical Pokémon, from Arceus to Zygarde.

How to Draw Pokémon by Tracey West (June 2003)
Get ready to draw the coolest, most action-packed Pokémon art ever. Catch step-by-step secret tips on drawing your favorite Pokémon.

Pokémon Origami (June 2015)
Offers instructions on creating ten Pokémon using origami, including Pikachu, Bulbasaur, and Snivy.

A completely updated coverage of key characters, battles, and locations, including the Unova region.


For those of you who are interested in Pokémon programming and advertising, there's a new Facebook Group for librarians you'll want to join:

Friday, July 8, 2016

8 Simple Photography Tricks Every Librarian Should Know

Let's talk about library photography. If you are lucky, newspaper reporters will come in and cover your programs. But even if they do, it is still important to take your own pictures of your events for the library website and social media, at the very least. However, photography is something that they don't teach you in grad school, so we're left to our own devices. Over the years, I've learned a few tricks that have upped my photography game. Maybe you'll find these helpful, too.

#1. Camera type does matter!

I couldn't believe how much of a difference it made when we bought a DSLR camera, the Canon EOS Rebel (thanks to the our teens voting for a Photography Makerspace). Sure, you might get some great shots with a regular camera or on your phone, but even leaving the DSLR camera on auto, it automatically blurs the background. Overnight, I became a better photographer! It is worth the money to upgrade.

#2. Focus on patrons, not your performer.

A photographer expert gave me this great tip that I never even realized -- if you focus on the performer, you are giving that performer free publicity. But if you focus on the faces of your patrons enjoying a performance, you are giving your library good publicity. Just make sure you get their permission before you post the photos online.

#3. Take pictures behind your performer.

So, to help you get a good spot for focusing on your patrons' faces, you should plan ahead. Ask the performer to move a few feet out into the audience and then station yourself behind them. If your patrons are sitting on the floor, lie down on your stomach so you'll get a good angle.

#4. Natural light makes the best pictures.

I learned this trick when I was taking shots of my newborn. Nothing looks better than bathed in natural light. Use this to your advantage -- focus on the people who have the best natural light on them. If you are in a room that has no or little natural light, turn on as many lights as you possibly can ahead of time to increase the quality of your pictures. (Especially since you'll want to turn off the flash if you are taking photos during a performance.)

#5. Focus on the eyes.

Even if you don't have a DSLR camera, many cameras these days have a function where you can pick a focus. When you're trying to get a great shot of a specific patron, make sure you're focused on the eyes. When the eyes aren't sharp, the picture won't look right.

#6. Be creative!

The subjects of your photos don't always have to be centered in the frame, or looking at the camera. Frame the shot with a bookshelf, to remind the viewer that the event was in a library. Get behind a viewer at a program, so you're looking over their shoulder to see what they see. Or, if you want to avoid faces, focus your shots on the finished products.

#7. Add the photography release to your registration.

There is a big debate about whether or not a library needs to have a photography release form. If you decide to do this, make it easy for yourself and patrons and include it right into your registration. If it is paper sign-up, you can hand them the release immediately afterwards. If it is online registration, even better! In my previous job, I worked with Eventkeeper to format a section to our online template form that was the Photography Release statement and asked them to mark "yes" or "no" if they accept these terms. I used this registration template for ever major event, but technically patrons only need to sign the form once and it covers their lifetime. But however you do it, it is good to have the majority of the releases done so you only need to worry about walk-ins at your event. (It also makes your newspaper reporters very happy to have this done ahead of time.)

#8. Create a Photographer Volunteer Role.

Lastly, if you are trying to run a program, it is really hard to also find time to take pictures. To solve this problem in my previous library, I created a volunteer role for in-house photographers. We opened it up to teens and trained them for a few days, then they could select which of the upcoming programs they wanted to cover. It worked out well for us and the teens really enjoyed it and took impressive shots. I made sure they downloaded their pictures on my computer before they left and then I used them for our social media, making sure to give the teen photo credit. It was a win/win partnership for us!

Do you have any photography tips? We'd love to hear about them in the comments.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Hijack Amazon, B&N, and Goodreads: Install the free Library Extension

Wouldn't it be awesome to easily see which of your "Want to Read" Goodreads books are currently available at your library? Or, perhaps, you're searching on Amazon for that title that you keep hearing about, and, after reading all of the reviews, you want to instantly find out if your library has a copy?

Well, now you can!

One of my favorite Chrome extensions is the "Library Extension" by Andrew Abrahamowicz. It is free and available to all libraries! If your library isn't on the list (there are over 1200 on it at the moment), you can request it via his website and he'll add it within a few days!

What We love:

1. The extension connects your library's catalog to sites like Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Goodreads. 

So, when you are viewing a book or ebook, you can easily see if it is also available at your library. For Amazon and Barnes & Noble, the extension appears on the right. In Goodreads, it appears in the middle, under the editions.

Amazon Screenshot

Goodreads Screenshot

2. It is so convenient to use! 

You just click the "borrow" button and it brings you to your library's catalog, directly to the book you wanted.

3. It allows you to harness the great browsing and searching power of Amazon and Goodreads, but easily see availability from your library's catalog. 

I've also used it to make sure my collection has the top rated books, quickly finding what I was missing and then ordering. It can also be helpful when developing Reader's Advisory lists.

4. You can connect to as many libraries and consortiums as you want. 

Just remember to go back to your extension after you install it to click on "tools" and then you can select what libraries you want to see. Or just go to this handy link after installation: chrome-extension://chkgcmmjoejpekoegkedcpifgfhpjmec/config.html

5. Fabulous customer service. 

They quickly add new libraries when requested (usually within 24 hours) and fix any bugs that you come across (from books being linked incorrectly to books not showing up when they are indeed available). This is impressive work from a free extension! They do want to know of any problems, so please let them know.

How Does It Work?

This extension connects your library's catalog to these sites. They use the title and author for matches between the two catalogs, so sometimes (since we all know how great our library catalog works), it may not work properly. But in my experience, the bugs have been few and far between.

They do search for ebooks, too, but they are currently only able to do that for OverDrive, so if you don't have an option for ebooks for your library, that's probably the reason why.

For those of you concerned about privacy, they DO NOT track your browsing history.

Future Updates

This extension only works for Chrome right now, but they are working on a  Firefox extension. You can sign-up to be notified of when it is available.

Unfortunately, they do not include audio books, CDs, or video games. They do plan to offer a premium version in the future, and I hope they include this option in that package. Currently, they do not make any revenue off of this extension (which makes their fabulous customer service all that more impressive!).

Check it Out!

We cannot convey how much we love this extension and what Abrahamowicz has created -- and for free! One of the hardest jobs for libraries to do is be part of patrons' every day lives. This extension allows us to be integrated onto the sites that our patrons are visiting more than our own catalog. So valuable for everyone in many ways.

Definitely worth five minutes checking it out and seeing how it works. It might even be worth an extra minute telling other librarians and patrons.