Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Promoting Your Databases

Even with discounts, databases can still be an expensive resource and many libraries comment that they are underused.  In order for them to be used, however, both patrons and staff must know they are there.  Some bookmarks, an email, or a widget on your website won't be enough.  It will take some time and require various methods so your patrons and staff are exposed to your message in different ways and multiple times. Databases need to be promoted.

First off it's important that staff knows their library has a database and they have been trained on how to use it. This enables staff to recommend a database, show how to use it or hold classes on certain databases. Many vendors offer ongoing webinar training on their products to review changes and updates and libraries can contact their reps or Califa to set up trainings or webinars for their staff.

Some libraries promote databases at staff meetings where a staff member trains everyone on a database. This has the additional benefit of providing staff members with the opportunity to hone their presentation and training skills.

Los Angeles Public Library has been promoting 'Featured Resources' for a few years now. Every month they choose a database which is highlighted on their Research & Homework page and they have a sign next to the reference desk in all their branches promoting that month's resource as well. 

Pasadena Public Library has created subject guides to promote their resources. They also feature monthly databases, which are listed on their main subject guide page. Some vendors will provide t-shirts, buttons or bookmarks that can be worn or handed out during such a promotion.

Cross promotion is another great way to not only remind patrons but staff as well of additional resources. In a reference book, the career center, or in the stacks where popular items (books, DVDs, CDs, audio books) are often checked out a library can place brochures, bookmarks, posters, signs or QR codes suggesting specific databases, e-books or streaming services. Again many of these materials are provided by the vendors.

Also in database classes staff can promote related databases or e-books. For example if a library is holding a class on a language database, they can also let patrons know they can access foreign films or music through a streaming service or check out an e-book in that language. 

A library should define an acceptable activity level or cost per use. This provides a benchmark to assist in the evaluation and to see if the promotions had any effect. If those databases aren't seeing much use, make sure you're giving them a chance, after all you have spent a lot of money on them. Unfortunately "Build it, and he will come" doesn't always work; sometimes you need to tell them about it. And not just once, but often.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Enter AWE's 2015 Video Contest for a chance to win an AWE Early Literacy Station

It's as easy as 1, 2, 3.
  1. Create a short video, 30 to 90 seconds in length about your library. It should
  2. Show how you use AWE's Early Literacy Station(s) at your library or why you want one at your library. And it should
  3. Tell how the Early Literacy Station™ currently benefits or would benefit the young children in your community.
Three libraries will be selected as the winners. Each winner will win a free Early Literacy Station.

The submission period is March 16 - May 31, 2015.

For details: http://www.awelearning.com/en/markets/libraries/publiclibraries/awevideocontest/

Monday, January 26, 2015

New Staff Professional Development Resources from Gale

In hopes of assisting libraries in providing tools for staff professional development, Gale has compiled a list of eBook titles using the nomenclature compiled by WebJunction​ for the 2014 Competency Index, and bundled them by competency. 

The eBooks are from 4 leading publishing partners, focused specifically on library professional development topics and can provide an affordable self-directed option for staff looking to build or advance their skills. By creating a sub-collection within GVRL, staff will enjoy simultaneous access, article-level indexing,  PDF options, highlighting and notes and flexibility. 

The 2014 Competency Index was compiled by WebJunction and delivered to the community by OCLC. Input from a number of library practitioners, leaders and organizations was gathered and reviewed by subject matter experts. This index is endorsed by ALA.
You may read the full Index here, but in summary there are 5 overarching competency areas, as well as sub-topics/skills areas supporting each.
  1. Essential  Library  Competencies: These  competencies  are  the  underpinning  of  all  of  the  other  sections  of  the  Competency  Index.  Core  technology  skills  and  strong  interpersonal  skills  are  fundamental  for  everyone  who  works  in  a  library  in  any  position.  Librarians and  library  staff  who  possess  all  of  these  qualities  will  build  a  vibrant  and  relevant  library. Personal/Interpersonal Competencies are key In  most  situations  in  life,  where your  effectiveness  is  enhanced  by  clear  communication,  strong  relationships,  ethical  behavior  and the  flexibility  to  be  a  leader,  team  player  and  lifelong  learner.
  2. Library  Collection  Competencies: Library  collections  exist  to  meet  the  diverse  lifelong  learning  needs  of  their  users  and  communities.  Laws  and  policies  guide  practice.  Efficient  workflows  and  practices  help  provide  organized  and  expedient  access.
  3. Library  Management  Competencies: Today’s  organizational  cultures  are  less  traditionally  hierarchical  in  structure  and  focus  more  on  collaboration  and  empowerment.  Library  directors  and  leaders  manage  traditional  responsibilities  like  finances  and  facilities,  but must  also  be  excellent  communicators  who  inspire  others  and  act  with  the  larger  community  in  mind.
  4. Public  Services  Competencies: All  of  the  services  that  interface  directly  with  the  library’s  users  come  together  under  the  heading  of  public  services.  These  frontline  staff  anticipate and  meet  the  needs  of  users  in  the  most  visible  way.  Fully  supported  by  all  of  the  other sectors  and  departments,  they  work  to  provide  the  best  possible  programs  and  services  to  the  library  community.
  5. Technology  Competencies:  Systems  and IT: Technology  is  now  ubiquitous  in  libraries  and  IT intersects  with  all departments. Depending  on  the  size  and  type  of  library,  there  may  be  strict  divisions  between  the  responsibilities  of  IT  staff  and  other  library  staff,  or  the  line   may  be  more  indistinct  as  it  is  for  “accidental”  systems  librarians  in  small  libraries.  Certain IT functions may be handled by consultants, too. 
About the Titles
This package includes more than 100 2012-14 titles across 4 leading publishers—all current. 60 of the titles are copyright year 2014.
  • Chandos Publishing: An imprint of Elsevier, Chandos Publishing is a leading publisher in library and information science and social science, producing books combining theory and practice into high-value resources. Chandos represents more than ½ the total package and has titles covering everything from leadership to social media marketing.
  • Information Today: Information Today, Inc. is the publisher of several Internet and Technology magazines, newsletters and books all geared toward the library, information & knowledge management community. Available in this package are a dozen eBooks including titles like Career Q&A: A Librarian’s Real-Life, Practical Guide to Managing a Successful CareerThe Accidental Systems LibrarianThe Cybrarian’s Web, and more.
  • Libraries Unlimited: An imprint of ABC-Clio, Libraries Unlimited serves academic, public, school, and special libraries by producing library science textbooks, reference works, practical handbooks, and professional guides designed to help library professionals keep current with leading-edge trends and acquire new skills through every phase of their careers.
  • Wiley: Wiley is a leading publisher of global research, professional development and education materials. Hand-selected specifically for this collection are titles which can help libraries advance in the areas of marketing and leadership including eBooks such as Great Leadership Creates Great WorkplacesThe New Rules of Marketing & PR, and Pinterest Marketing: An Hour a Day

For titles and pricing information, click here.

Monday, January 12, 2015

There are some changes afoot

On January 9th Linda Crowe, Califa's Executive Director announced her retirement and today Susan Hildreth was announced as her successor. Ms. Hildreth will start on March 1.

Dear Colleagues,
It is with both regret and a sense of anticipation that I officially announce my retirement today. I came to PLS in 1983 and have seen PLS grow and move forward in a true model of sharing and collaboration. The work in building the mega systems and PLP has been challenging and rewarding. While I have been Executive Director of Califa, we have had many entrepreneurial enterprises and opportunities that have benefited all libraries in California, both from a visionary as well as a cost-savings perspective. I will continue to work part-time for Califa with CENIC on the broadband infrastructure project.
I expect that an announcement will be made next week regarding my successor and the timing of the transition, but I wanted to give you this information personally.

Linda Crowe


The Peninsula Library System, a consortium of public and community college libraries in San Mateo CA, is pleased to announce that Susan Hildreth will be joining the System as its Executive Director.  She will also assume the responsibilities for its affiliated partners, the Pacific Library Partnership, a California Library Service Act system and Califa, a 501(c)(3) not for profit membership organization that provides services and programs to libraries throughout California.  Hildreth served as the State Librarian of California from 2004 – 2009 and has served in leadership positions in California public libraries since 1980.  Hildreth will complete her term as the Director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services in Washington, DC, on January 18, 2015 and will assume her new position on March 1.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

ScienceFlix, a new Scholastic product

We're excited to introduce ScienceFlix, a brand-new digital STEM product from Scholastic.

Please join us on January 13th at 10:00 am for an in-depth review of the many features and assets in this dynamic resource. 
To register: http://bit.ly/1A07tPY

ScienceFlix offers 30 complete scientific units over six curricula strands, each featuring:
· Engaging videos to build background knowledge and introduce the topic and key vocabulary
· Anchor articles written at three reading levels
· Supplemental articles written at three reading levels
· Project and experiment ideas
· Science career section
· News article with study guide
· Multimedia including interactive timeline, slideshows, videos and more
· Lesson plans
· Thousands of vetted websites on related content

For additional information, here is review from School Library Journal:

Monday, December 8, 2014

Webinars this Week

Save the dates for webinars from these vendors. Please see our calendar for invite information: http://califa.org/calendar/

December 11, 2014 at 11 am​
This webinar will cover:
* BookFlix introduction
* Features
* Correlations to the Common Core
* Resources available for library staff/patrons
* Questions

December 10, 2014 at 11 am
Pronunciator will demonstrate its sleek new interface; learning guides (up to 22 months of guided instruction per language); and ProRadio feature (streaming major label music with lyrics) 

Skillsoft Books24X7: 
December 9, 2014 at 1:30 pm
Skillsoft’s Books24x7 provides business, technical and well being content containing thousands of digitized books, book summaries, research reports and best practices. There are also instructional videos covering a wide range of IT, programming and desktop topics.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Internet Librarian 2014

For those of you that like to plan ahead, Internet Librarian is October 27-29 in lovely Monterey, California. Califa Members can register online at https://secure.infotoday.com/forms?form=il2014 and use code 14CAL to receive the consortial discount.

This year’s Internet Librarian 2014 conference focuses on the strategies, services and tools that enable us to engage, connect and build relationships with the communities who use our libraries, fund our libraries, and support and defend our libraries. The program includes discussions about how the use of mobile devices and electronic collections is changing the spaces in libraries and the services libraries provide. It focuses on the skills, competencies, and roles that are evolving to deal with these and other changes in our towns, campuses, agencies and corporate enterprises. Information Today’s 17th annual Internet Librarian caters to all interests and all levels of knowledge with five simultaneous tracks, including Internet@Schools. The conference provides the ideal opportunity to gather insights and ideas to ignite our imaginations and spark innovation while it creates lots of opportunities for connections and conversations.

Join us at the most comprehensive conference for library and information professionals interested in technology to discover the insights, strategies and practices that allow us to push the envelope in expanding the net, managing libraries and digital information, and enhancing the information sharing and learning experience of people in our communities. Internet Librarian 2014 provides attendees with lots of opportunities to meet and hear from leading “movers and shakers” in the information industry in all types of environments – leaders in the information industry are integrating content and delighting their clients, organizing and managing digital content in creative ways, setting the context for excellence in information utilization in their organizations, revolutionizing the roles of info pros, building strong collaborative communities among their customers and colleagues, and using new technologies in exciting ways. This conference encourages you to bring and share your ideas and champion new practices – this is where ideas and action come together, where innovation ignites.