Thursday, October 25, 2012

Books 24x7 Trial Available

Our group purchase of Books 24x7's IT Pro collection is coming up for renewal in January, so we wanted to make everyone aware that if you're interested in subscribing to their eBook package, now is the time to do so.  The IT Pro Collection has technical titles from lots of different publishers, all available with unlimited simultaneous users so you don't need to worry about turnaways.

There is a trial available on the Califa site.  You will need your Califa password to log in and view the trial information.  If you don't have your Califa login, email me, and I'll send it to you.  The trial information is in the passworded Members Only area:

If you'd like pricing, let me know.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Congrats to Rancho Cucamonga

Congratulations to Rancho Cucamonga on this honor!  If you'd like information about a Play and Learn Island™ , let me know.

Press Release
Michelle Perera, Assistant Library Director
Rancho Cucamonga Library Services
909-477-2720 ext. 5055


Rancho Cucamonga Library’s Play and Learn Islands™ Honored by Harvard University as “Bright Idea”

September 28, 2012


Rancho Cucamonga, California – Harvard University announced the 2012 cohort of “Bright Ideas” in government and Rancho Cucamonga Library’s Play and Learn Islands™  are on the list!

The Ash Center at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government recognizes innovative government initiatives from around the United States through its “Bright Ideas” program. The City of Rancho Cucamonga Library was one of those recognized as part of this prestigious 2012 cohort for its Play and Learn Islands™.  Play and Learn Islands™ are hands-on, interactive, multi-modal, developmentally age-appropriate, early learning exhibits for children and their families that encourage creating, designing and redesigning, building, experiential learning, reading readiness, and motor skills development through unstructured play, spontaneity, and imagination. 

This year’s Bright Idea cohort hails from all levels of government—including school districts, county, city, state, and federal agencies as well as public-private partnerships—and demonstrates a creative range of solutions to issues such as urban and rural degradation, environmental problems, and the academic achievement of students. Programs were evaluated and selected by a team of policy experts from academic and public sectors. Rancho Cucamonga Library is proud to be a part of Harvard’s Bright Idea program in the esteemed company of such innovative programs, as well as the only public library honored. 

The Play and Learn Islands™ have been created by the Rancho Cucamonga Library in an effort to provide interactive learning for children and their families in the Library.  The Play and Learn Islands™ were funded through several Library Services Technology Act grants from the California State Library and Institute of Museum and Library Services, as well as through a generous donation from the Rancho Cucamonga Library Foundation.  In an effort to share the Play and Learn Islands™ with the library community, the Rancho Cucamonga Library has created a loan program to allow interested California Libraries to borrow them for their libraries.  To date, 35 libraries have borrowed a Play and Learn Island™ and several have also purchased a Play and Learn Islands™ through the Califa Group. 

For additional information, please visit or call (909) 477-2720, x5055.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Internet Librarian Discount Reminder

If you're planning to head to Internet Librarian, please note that the deadline to register to get the Califa discount is September 21.  Internet Librarian is doing electronic registration now, so no need to print and fax your form to us. Instead, use the link below, and enter the priority code 12CAL in the box at the bottom where it asks for your code. That will get you to the discounted registration form.
And enter 12CAL at the bottom.
Early Bird registration ends September 21.
Let us know if you have any questions.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Post Vendor Fair eBook update

We had our big Vendor Fair last week at the beautiful campus of Santa Clara University.  About 20 vendors and 100 librarians came together to watch demo's, get updates, and dig deeply for information about vendors they're considering, as well as talk to others who are already using those vendors.  It was a great day, and we always love seeing all our members who come out for it.

So, an eBook update, which is desperately overdue...

First off, some kudos for us: we were mentioned on NPR last week on the Diane Rehm show.  At 39:50 they say that Califa is really innovative.  Woohoo!

Ok, self-congratulations over.  What's going on with our eBook project?

- figuring out hosting takes a long time.  We thought we could just go with a simple cloud hosting service, but Quipu talked us through all the options we could want; how much of a managed system did we need?  Did we need someone to do regular maintenance?  How much responsibility did we want to have for the servers and hardware?  After looking at lots of different options, and getting a lot of quotes, we decided to go with, and we signed up with them a few weeks ago.

- which means that now Quipu can start digging around the ACS and kicking the tires, as it were.  We are doing a presentation at CLA in November, and Contra Costa will be set up with, at the very least, a demo site to show at our session.

- we actually have live content on a test server so that when Contra Costa is ready to start testing, we're able to do so with real materials from real publishers.

So far the publishers that we have sent orders to are:
- Workman (and Algonquin)
- Bancroft
- Dzanc

I'm working on an order for the Independent Publishers Group, and Smashwords will also be coming soon, now that they have their Library Direct options for authors to sell to libraries.  I have a list of about 40-50 additional publishers that I'm working my way through - now that renewals season is complete, and our Vendor Fair is over, I'm working my way through the publisher list at the rate of 1-2/week.

We're forming a collection development committee, and figuring out the best way to manage doing the orders.  Right now, since we don't have an acquisitions module, we're working off spreadsheets.  But we know that's not going to be a good option long-term.  Building an acquisitions module will be in the second phase of the plan.  I believe there are already a few bits of movement with building an acquisitions module, so once we're ready, we can either choose from one that is already in existence, or see if building our own makes sense.  So for right now, the collection development group will have spreadsheets hosted on a google wiki.  (if you'd like to be part of the collection development group, and you're a Califa member, please let us know.  We can use all the help we can get!)

We are really working on two projects simultaneously.  Working with Contra Costa to get them set up is sort of a "learning by doing" project - by setting up VuFind+, and the ACS, we can learn a lot about the pieces that we will need to make this scaleable for groups.  There are still a lot of questions over bandwidth, how quickly VuFind+ can serve up the ebooks, etc.  We will learn a lot by getting Contra Costa set up, and then the BALIS libraries, and then Kansas.  Three different ILS groups, and bigger populations, which will put the system to the test.  We will see how it holds up, and learn more about whether more bandwidth is needed, etc.

At the end of this project we will have a server that serves up library-owned eBooks to patrons, which is exciting.  The level of integration into the ILS, marc records, etc., will all be decided after that first phase.  For now, we're working to get the first phase completed.

More updates soon!

Monday, August 13, 2012

After a long break of not posting...

Remember when summers were slow and you could get caught up on everything?  I don't know what happened to that, but this summer has been slammed.  We're doing deals with publishers on our ebook platform, we've got new vendors to announce, and all kinds of good stuff.  More on that in a later post.

But for now, I want to make sure you're all aware of the upcoming Califa Vendor Fair on August 30 at the beautiful library of Santa Clara University.  It's a great event we have every year - we bring together lots of vendors and give them each 40 minute segments to go really in depth about their product - it's a lot more than the quick demos you get when your head is spinning at ALA.  And there are other folks also watching the demo, and it's great to hear everyone's questions - someone invariably has a similar question that you do, so there are lots of good discussions going on.

And the best part?  It's FREE to staff of Califa member libraries (including parking, breakfast and lunch).  Non-Califa member library staff are $20, which covers the cost of food.

Learn more, see a list of vendors, and sign up here:

See you on August 30!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Califa's eBook Project

An update on our eBook project in The Digital Shift:

Also not in the article is the fact that we're having a Naming Contest for the service.  Submit a great name, and if we choose yours, you will win an iPad!  We want something that conveys:
- this is a project from libraries, for libraries; a membership cooperative project.
- this is a service that is a step towards a solution.  It will continue to evolve as we need it to.  But it's something that lets us focus our energy, and stop just sitting around feeling helpless.
- it will be innovative, experimental, and we will learn as we go along.
- it is collaborative.
- it's FUN!

If you have a name that you think reflects all of that, email it to me with the subject "eBook Name" and we will let our members choose the best from the top ones we receive (of course we'll have to work to ensure that it's available, doesn't violate copyright, etc).  The deadline for entry is July 31.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

3M Cloud Library Goes Live in Pasadena

I was at the Pasadena public library this morning for the official launch of the 3M Cloud Library.  I've been using the Cloud Library for about a month now, and I'm really excited by it!  It's so great to see a service designed for library users that is actually just as easy to use as a kindle.

Below is a youtube video showing how to browse and check out books.  The first difference a patron will notice when they log on to the 3M Cloud Library is that they need to log in with their barcode and pin.  With OverDrive, you can go in and browse the catalog, and you don't put your authentication details in until the end (kind of like going into a store - you browse and then check out when you're ready to leave).  I'm not sure of the technology behind it all and whether one way is better than the other, but I do know that this way is much easier, especially on a tablet or smart phone.  You put in your details once, and then you're done.  

Then you find content that you want.  3M has signed with lots of major publishers (3M just announced that they've cut a deal with Penguin, who pulled out of their OverDrive contract earlier this year) but they're also working with independents like Smashwords.

Once you find content, you simply click "check out" and then go on over to your My Books area (which displays your checked out books as well as lists the titles you have on hold).  The book downloads to your account.  And because it's all stored in the cloud, it syncs across devices.  I wasn't sure what would happen when I was away from an internet connection, given that it seems to rely heavily on being connected, but I can happily report that I read a book on the flight to NYC last week, and everything worked just fine.  You can also check books in really easily by tapping on the "info" icon.  The "info" area also tells you how many more days you have left on your checkout, and shows your bookmarks.    

A couple of things that annoy me:

1) the bookmarking function isn't the greatest.  You don't seem to be able to just place a bookmark without writing a note about that bookmark.  I'm thinking that the reason they made it this way is because in a perfect world your reading spot would save, and sync across your devices.  In practice it doesn't always work out that way.  My tablet sensitivity is high (I know I can change it, but I haven't).  So sometimes I'll go from being 20% of the way through a book to 70%, just with one accidental finger swipe.  Getting back to the place I was is a giant hassle then (anyone who's ever tried to "thumb" through an ebook will understand why).  So I solved the problem by placing bookmarks every few pages, just in case I unexpectedly wind up losing my place.  It would be nice to do that without having to write a description each time. 

2) You can't use it on a kindle (though I supposed you could on a kindle fire, if you had the app) . 

3) The holds list seems wonky.  I've had Walking the Bible on hold for 3 weeks.  Every day it tells me that it will be available in less than a day.  I don't know whether they're using days measured on Jupiter, or what, but it's definitely held steady at "less than a day" like that for at least 10 Earth Days.

And really, that's just about it.

As online storage gets cheaper, it seems as if more and more programs and services will be stored online, and 3M is definitely leading the way.  The nice thing about them is that they are still willing to work with independent projects (like Douglas County) and I spoke with them about possibly integrating somehow into our own project.  They have written ownership clauses into the contracts as well.

I'm glad to see such an awesome project becoming successful.  The library world needs more competition like this!

Sunday, June 10, 2012 and the burgeoning equality of the internet

Call me a wearer of rose-colored glasses, but I'm a big fan of crowdfunding whereby small investments from lots of people allow big dreams to come true.  The one that's relevant to libraries right now is, which some of you may have seen in the recent Hotline.  With the tagline Give eBooks to the world (I like that!) allows people everywhere to coordinate and ensure that a book is made available, DRM free, for everyone to be able to read it.  I've already contacted them about putting their content in our eBook platform (I promise I have news on that as soon as I get all my ducks in a row and can make announcements - but I did spend the week at BEA last week and met with loads of publishers!), and they were really interested in talking. We're going to meet at ALA.

The team really wants their first attempt to succeed, so that they can show that this is a viable option for authors and publishers, so if crowdfunding books seems like a good idea to you, I'd urge you to check it out, and perhaps contribute to their leading project at the moment, Oral Literature in Africa.  Check it out, and let us know what you think!  Thoughts?  Opinions?  I'd love to hear ideas and thoughts about it.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

ebrary offer for public libraries

Please see this message below about a special offering from ebrary to Califa public library members, and let me know if you'd like more information.


To help public libraries acquire e-books strategically, ebrary now offers a newPublic Library Pack: Career Development.  Hand selected by ebrary’s on-staff librarians, this collection ensures your library owns a perpetual archive to recent, relevant content for public library patrons.

Priced at just $2,250, including hosting fee, the new pack includes almost 50 titles on career planning, search, training, retraining, and development, as well as vocational guidance, resumes writing, and interview techniques. It also provides information on common career choices.

The vast majority of titles are published within the last 2 years.
Browse the entire collection here:

Highlights include:

·         Almanac of American Employers 2012 : Market Research, Statistics and Trends Pertaining to the Leading Corporate Employers in America, Plunkett Research, Ltd., 2011
·         Encyclopedia of Careers and Vocational Guidance, Volumes 1-5 (15th Edition), Facts on File, 2010
·         Top 100: The Fastest-Growing Careers for the 21st Century (5th Edition), Ferguson, 2011
·         Ultimate Job Search : The Definitive Guide to Networking, Interviews and Follow-up Strategies (3rd Edition), Kogan Page, 2012

OR… Subscribe to Public Library Complete thru July 312012 and receive 10% discount for CALIFA members!

Libraries that also subscribe to Public Library Complete ™ or participate in our patron driven access program can affordably offer an even wider selection of career development titles eliminate any hosting fees!  Public Library Complete is most cost effective way to provide multi-user access to a growing collection of more than 28,000 titles across all areas of interest for public libraries.  With patron driven acquisition, libraries can provide access to vast numbers of titles and only pay if titles are used.

For more information about ebrary’s new strategic approach to e-book acquisition please view this short introductory video

Friday, May 18, 2012

National Geographic trials now available

If you have been waiting to trial before deciding to purchase the National Geographic Archive, available from Gale, trials are now available.  If you'd like a trial, please let me know, and I will forward the request to Gale, who will contact you with login information.  

Also, please note that the deadline to get the special 25% discounted introductory pricing is June 15.  If you'd like a quote, let me know.  


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Gaylord Bonus Days

Califa Members: Get Savings Beyond Your Regular Discount
During Gaylord’s June Bonus Days

Bonus Days are coming! Gaylord offers an ongoing discount for Califa members, and this June the savings can be even greater. For the entire month, a bonus discount will be added to the regular member discount on a wide variety of products from Gaylord.  

Regular member discount
·         20% off most traditional library supplies
·         15% off most furniture and archival products

Bonus deal for June
·         An additional 5% off your entire order
·         Plus free shipping on library or archival supply items totaling $150 or more (within the continental U.S.)
To take advantage of this offer, simply use Priority Code 37720 when ordering.

Make Gaylord your one-stop shop for library furniture, equipment, and supplies. We offer customers the benefit of choice in every category—the selection you want, and the brands you love!

To request a free catalog, place an order, or make inquiries, visit Gaylord’s website at, call toll-free 1-800-448-6160, email, or fax 1-800-272-3412.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

AWE Early Literacy Station Spring 2012 Order

Our twice-yearly order period for the AWE Early Literacy Stations is happening again, until June 27 this year.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with these products, they are computers with software programs designed for children, and twice a year we aggregate the orders of everyone, combining them so that everyone gets the best price regardless of whether they buy 1 unit or 20.  We are on the 13th order of these units - twice a year for over 6 years now - and we've only missed the 50+ price twice, so we generally reach that.

If you would like to see pricing, or get more info, check out and let me know if you have any questions.

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Little eBook Platform that Could (an eBook Journey update)

Hey y'all.  I bet you thought we disappeared, huh?  Nope, just had some time off for Easter, and then got swamped catching up.

And I actually don't have much report.  There is a lot going on, but not much that we can say publicly yet.  First, we have a technology partner - one of our member libraries has an amazing tech team, and they are going to help us with the management of the server, and all the technical stuff that is beyond our abilities.  We should have our agreement formalized in the next few weeks, and I will be able to announce who they are then.

We have also been talking with other consortia who would like to partner with us.  Again, nothing finalized; nothing I can announce, but lots of exciting discussions happening.

We have several companies working on quotes for the front-end discovery layer.  We will make an announcement who our development vendor will be by ALA, if not sooner.

And I've been speaking with lots of publishers.  I'm still receiving emails every day from small and independent publishers who are willing to work with us, which is eminently heartening.  I had a great talk with the Independent Publishers Group, who really get it, and are happy to sell us content from their publishers.  I've booked my travel to BEA, where I will meet with many more publishers.  I'm expecting that we will start buying content by late July or August, so it's great to have all these publishers lined up in advance.

And really, that's about all I have to report now.  Lots of stuff going on, and we should be able to make the announcements about the technology vendors and partners soon.  For now, just know that things are moving on apace, and we're so excited about this next phase of the project, where we can really start to make things happen!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

CLA Spring in the District Info

From Carol Simmons, Executive Director of the California Library Association:
Spring in the District is here and it’s time to meet with your legislators about restoring state funding to California’s libraries. To make these meetings as easy as possible, CLA is providing:
  • Talking points
  • Tips for lobbying your legislator
  • List of lead contacts and appointment schedule
Please refer to the appointment lists for State Assembly and State Senators and contact the lead to join the appointment and receive further information. Check this page often as appointments are being scheduled and added daily!

This is the time to get involved! Without $15.2 million in State matching funds, California will lose its Federal Funding ($16 million) for libraries. Prevent a double whammy!

Carol Simmons, Executive Director
California Library Association

Friday, March 30, 2012

Upcoming OCLC Seminar on Virtual Reference

Making the Case for Virtual Reference in Tough Times

It’s no secret that libraries everywhere are making difficult choices due to the current economy.  Newer programs, like virtual reference, are often the first to face the chopping block.  Making the case for funding virtual reference might be easier than you think.

Susan McGlamery works with libraries on a regular basis as they secure funding for OCLC’s QuestionPoint service. In addition you’ll hear from Cathay Crosby, Statewide Coordinator for Ask a Librarian Delaware;  Liz Barksdale of Ask New Texas;  and Jaclyn McKewan of AskUs247 and Western New York Library Resources Council.  Hear what has an impact on funders and learn what features of a virtual reference service are most valuable to your community.

“Virtual Reference in Tough Times” is the next in the Best Practices in Virtual Reference series. Each session is a free, hour-long webinar available to all and highlighting some of the benefits of working collectively with others in your group.

 Despite the best advocacy, paying for virtual reference still may not make the cut. Explore what free options you have and hear how they’ve worked for those already using the service. Know what you really need to have in a virtual reference service to make it work for your community.

Virtual Reference in Tough Times
April 24, 2012
1:00pm  – 2:00pm Eastern

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Have Server Will Lend (an eBook Journey Update)

"I am always doing that which I cannot do, so that I may learn how to do it." - Pablo Picasso.

The Picasso quote above is our outlook here at Califa.  We don't exactly know how to lend ebooks right now.  We're figuring it out, and then we'll know how to do it.  If we waited until we knew how to do it before we started, something new will have popped up, and we'd already be behind.  We're talking with those who have already gone down this path, and taking as much knowledge as we can from them.  Pretty soon, we'll have a good idea of what to do.

I'm fairly certain that what we will have in two or five years will look much different than what we start with.  But if you're going to have something to work on, you need to at least have something to start with.  That something is what we're setting up now.  We will tweak, experiment, and adjust the model based on the needs of both our member libraries, and the publishers with whom we work.

This week we purchased the Adobe Content Server, which is the software that hosts the epub files, and lets you add in the digital rights management.  Adobe doesn't sell it directly, and there are two resellers:

Datalogics Incorporated
Here are some links about the Adobe Content Server from Datalogics, which is where we bought ours.

Supported Devices

The software we purchased includes: 
  • eBook Authoring Support – support for both PDF and EPUB files formats in authoring software including Acrobat, Adobe InDesign and other areas like XSLT transfer scripts, EPUB validation tools etc. (
  • Reader Mobile 9 SDK – this is a source code SDK which allows device manufacturers and eBook reading software to render PDF and EPUB and supports Adobe Content Server 4 encryption (
Pricing for Content Server is:
USD $10,000 upfront fee (includes support/maintenance/upgrades and access to Adobe Digital Signing Service for one year)
USD $1500 annual maintenance renewal fee after the first year
USD $.22 per signed license for permanent transactions (non-expiring - ie a purchase)
USD $.08 per signed license for expiring transactions (expiring between 0 and 60 days)

Once we have the software, we need a place to host it.  We're going with (mainly because they come so highly recommended from some of our partner organizations, and their customer support borders on legendary).  Rackspace hosting is sliding scale depending on the amount of data we use.  We can start off small, and move up as we need to.

Once we have the server up and running, we'll still need content to put on it, and we'll need a front end discovery layer.  The content I'm not too worried about.  Every day I get emails from small-press and independent publishers who are willing and happy to work with us.  And they have good stuff!  Since I'm willing to bet that we won't have the bestseller titles from the Big 6 to start with, I'd like to create some "if you like this, you'll love that" types of lists for people to find new authors.  Perhaps some of our member libraries will want to volunteer to create something, or maybe it already exists in an open source app that could be integrated.

One note for those of you who are going to do this yourself: talk to the people who have already done it so you don't duplicate efforts.  Jordana Vincent at Douglas County was enormously helpful and forthcoming when she sent me a list of the publishers with whom they have spoken, as well as the notes about them.  You don't need to start from scratch anymore.

I'll be going to BEA to speak with publishers in June, and we'll hopefully get a lot more on board after that.  But to start with, we should have plenty to get a basic collection off the ground.

The discovery layer is a bit trickier since we're planning for a group dynamic.  We have several companies working on quotes for us, and are also looking at consultants who could who could implement the already-existing open source programs for groups.

Over the next week we will get the ACS software installed at Rackspace (Datalogics does free installation, which is one reason I chose them), and focus on the front end discovery layer.  More next week!

Monday, March 26, 2012

National Geographic Archive from Gale

I'm a huge fan of National Geographic, so I'm excited about this new product from Gale:  the National Geographic Magazine Archive 1888-1994.  Califa will have discounted pricing on this database until June 15: a 25% discount for all who come in before then.

Here's a flyer:

The archive is fully searchable, and includes every page and every photo.

Email me for a quote if you're interested, and stay tuned for more webinar announcements and details.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Califa eBook Journey: Introduction

Many of our members will have already seen this article about how we are starting an eBook program.  I will admit that it's a little scary, having everyone know what our plans are, because now we need to deliver!

I am going to start blogging about what I am affectionately calling our eBook Journey so that other libraries who are starting the process will be able to track our progress, from start to finish, and see what they can expect.

Califa has been working with eBooks since our inception.  We have a contract with OverDrive for a shared collection from 2004 (we subsequently ended that relationship in 2008).  We have a NetLibrary collection that goes back over ten years.  We have a shared Safari collection.  We worked with Ingram's MyiLibrary.  One of our member libraries, Pasadena, is piloting the 3M Cloud Library, in part using funds provided by Califa.  In short, we've been around the eBook block a time or two, and we are intimately familiar with the pros and cons of the current models.

And don't get me wrong - there are a lot of pros to using a vendor like 3M.  We want to work with 3M to secure discounts for our members.  And Baker and Taylor.  Just this morning I had a call with Bilbary about how we can implement a group model for their purchase and rental eBooks.  Just because we also want to do something on our own doesn't mean that we are giving up on vendors.

But in an area as important as eBooks, there has to be a balance.  As those folks who have implemented an open source ILS know, there is a certain beauty to being able to control your destiny; to being able to work on changes you want to see immediately, and not have to wait for your request to come up in a vendor's development queue.

eBook purchasing has grown exponentially over the past few years.  Some publishers are freaking out, some are embracing the new technologies. Some authors are freaking out, and some are embracing it.  Bestsellers now sell more eBook copies than physical ones.  And as any reference librarian will know, after each holiday season, more and more patrons come into the library wanting to know what they can put on their new gadgets.

For a while we've had options from vendors like OverDrive and Recorded Books.  And they have had, and are continuing to serve, a big role.  But in the same way that libraries do not rent shelving and physical books to put on the shelves; as electronic reading becomes the way a majority of "books" are consumed, libraries will need to devise a way to have ownership of both their platform (ie the building and shelving) as well as the content.

So Califa is embarking on a journey of creating our own eBook platform and collection, with the goal of opening it up to all members on a pay-to-play basis, but with ownership of the content and platform residing solely with the Consortium.  Yes, we will still need to "rent" some content for now.  But there is plenty of great material out there from publishers who are willing to sell to libraries, that we think we can have a great majority of the collection be owned, not leased.

A couple of principles are guiding our development.

1)  What we do needs to be able to be scaled, and our development needs to benefit all our members.  There will come a time in the future when libraries will want to own their own content server and have their own locally-owned standalone collections.  We can see the day when the adobe content server comes down enough in price, and enough libraries are doing this, that most libraries will want to do it for themselves.  So we are keeping that in mind as we build this platform.  Though there will always be a need for shared platforms and collections (many libraries just won't have the manpower to maintain a server, no matter how cheap it is).

2)  Content doesn't have to be fancy.  I have a philosophical difference with the people who are anxious to get at the Big 6.  There is a perception that that's the only thing patrons want right now, but I think that these tech-savvy patrons are used to getting the special offers from Amazon of 99 cent eBooks already, and are used to taking a chance on new authors.  Additionally, the price of eBooks will most likely keep going down.  The agency price model is under attack both here and in the European courts, and there may come a day when that disappears all together.  Add to that the recent rise of many self-published authors to the bestseller lists (ie Erin Morgenstern) and many established authors saying they are going to self-publish in the future, and my guess is that, over time, there will be more compelling reasons to work with independent publishers.  In a world where content is cheap (or free) and everyone and their mother has a novel out (hey, I do it too - I'm a proud NaNoWriMo-er), there is a huge role for libraries in discovery, in growing avid readers and helping people find new favorite authors.  The collection we envision is made up of great independent authors and publishers, who are willing to work with libraries.  Additionally, as we show the viability of a model like this, the Big 6 might recognize that it's in their interest to work with libraries (I mean, we do pay for the books we buy, after all).

3) We want to experiment.  The idea of simply replicating a physical world in a digital environment is what publishers are comfortable with right now, so that's what we'll do (ie, one book-one checkout).  But here's the thing.  It's a file.  It's not a real object.  If we really want to take advantage of the possibilities of the new technologies, we will embrace this, and recognize that, with files, there doesn't need to be a holds list.  With files, there can be immediate access.  Yes, rights need to be protected.  It's in all our interests to ensure that authors get paid for their work.  But just as there is lots of exciting work going on in the music industry by people who are embracing the excitement of the entire picture of what's possible (like Bjork, just as one example), we want to be there to help shape what's possible with books and reading.  The independent publishers are probably the ones most able to experiment, and that's another reason we want to work with them.

Those are the three guiding principles that we are using to shape this project.

Where we stand now:

- We are currently finding the technical people who will be able to build this platform.  We are open to working with libraries, vendors, consultants, etc.  There are a few who are in the process of making proposals, and we got a lot of great leads at PLA last week.

- We have several publishers who are all ready to sell us content including Dzanc.  I've talked with the Publishers Association of Los Angeles, the Independent Book Publishers Association, and the Independent Publishers Group, and they are open to working with us.  Jamie LaRue of Douglas County has shared his list of publishers who work with them, and I will be following up with all of them.  We are using Jamie's Publisher Letters (which he graciously posted on his blog) to formalize agreements.  Mary Minow is helping us on this front as well.  Reaching out to the publishers and representative groups was easy.  I simply googled Independent Publishers California, for example, to find the PALA folks, and wrote to their President.  I got a response a day later.  Independent publishers want new outlets for their writers, and are anxious to work with us.  As time goes on and we formalize agreements, I will post the list of publishers for others who might want to contact them.

- The goal is to have a (very basic) prototype to show at ALA in Anaheim, with some content that we will put on just for the sake of demonstration.  We will continue developing it, and start sharing it with our member libraries and begin collecting money from those who want to participate in it.  Hopefully by the start of 2013, we can have a full-fledged collection that is ready for patron use.

So that's what's going on, and where things stand right now.  I will keep updating at least once a week as we go along.  It's an exciting time for us, and I want to make sure it's documented, both for our reference as well as others who want to go down this path.


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

CLA News from the Dillons

March 5, 2012


FROM:           Mike Dillon, CLA Lobbyist
                        Christina DiCaro, CLA Lobbyist

RE:                 News From the Capitol


The Senate and Assembly Budget Committees have each held a general overview hearing of the Governor’s January Budget, and in the coming weeks they will be breaking up into Budget Subcommittees, in order to examine particular Budget subject matters more thoroughly.  For example, issues pertaining to the State Library and public library funding will be reviewed by the Senate Budget Subcommittee Number One on Education Finance and the Assembly Budget Subcommittee Number Two on Education Finance. 

Subcommittee hearings regarding the library funding issues have now been officially set in each house and CLA members are being asked to begin the process of writing or calling 8 very important legislators to request their support.  In fact, without the support of the eight legislators listed at the end of this report, it is very unlikely that we will have any success in restoring library funding in this year’s Budget.  Thus, your early participation in this grass roots advocacy effort is critical! 

Please send letters, requesting the subcommittees restore $15.2 million in combined funding for the California Library Services Act, the state literacy program, and the Public Library Foundation. The Budget “trigger” that went into effect in January 2012, has completely eliminated all state-sponsored funding for public libraries.

As is the typical process, each house’s subcommittee will make recommendations to the full Budget Committees in each house.  Where there is a difference between the actions of the two houses, the powerful Budget Conference Committee will attempt to reconcile the differences when they convene in early June.  As you can see, the first step – the subcommittee level – is the most critical.  All but one of the eight legislators sat on the subcommittees last year and are very familiar with this issue (Senator Ted Gaines is the only new addition to the subcommittee), but they all need to hear from you in order to elevate this issue once again.  The Senate will hear our library issues on April 19 and the Assembly will follow with a hearing on May 2.

In your letters, please note issues such as the following :

1)     California would be one of the largest states that would receive no state-sponsored funding.
2)    Approximately $16 million in federal funds will be in jeopardy if California does not show a financial commitment to its public libraries.
3)    The collaborative loaning and lending program that exists between regions throughout California would likely cease to exist in many areas.
4)    Some libraries are already charging upwards of $80 to $100 for non-resident library cards and a lack of state funding will likely add to that unfortunate trend.
5)    20,000 literacy learners annually receive services from public libraries.  These adult learners would go without critical services, and as of this writing, 3,000 more adults are on a “waiting list.”
6)    Library attendance and usage is at an all-time high.  Libraries are providing invaluable resources for those who are looking for work, going to school, learning a new skill, or encouraging reading of youth.
7)    As always, your personal, local anecdotes are best and most compelling.

These two Budget subcommittees have jurisdiction over library funding issues at the State Capitol.  You may contact these members via mail or fax.

Senate Budget Subcommittee Number 1 on Education Finance
Hearing date:  Thursday, April 19 – 9:30 a.m. or upon adjournment of Senate Floor, Room 3191

Senator Carol Liu, Chair
Senate Budget Subcommittee Number 1 on Education Finance
State Capitol, Room 5061
Sacramento, CA.  95814
Fax:  (916) 324-7543

Senator Ted Gaines (*) 
Member, Senate Budget Subcommittee Number 1 on Education Finance
State Capitol, Room 3060
Sacramento, CA.  95814
Fax:  (916) 324-2680

Senator Rod Wright
Member, Senate Budget Subcommittee Number 1 on Education Finance
State Capitol, Room 5064
Sacramento, CA.  95814
Fax:  (916) 445-3712

(*) – New member, replaces Senate Republican Leader, Bob Huff

Assembly Budget Subcommittee Number 2 on Education Finance
Hearing date:  Wednesday, May 2 – 4 p.m. in Room 126

Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, Chair
Assembly Budget Subcommittee Number 2 on Education Finance
State Capitol, Room 2188
Sacramento, CA.  95814
Fax:  (916) 319-2111

Assemblyman Bill Berryhill
Member, Assembly Budget Subcommittee Number 2 on Education Finance
State Capitol, Room 3141
Sacramento, CA.  95814
Fax:  (916) 319-2126

Assemblywoman Julia Brownley
Member, Assembly Budget Subcommittee Number 2 on Education Finance
State Capitol, Room 2163
Sacramento, CA.  95814
Fax:  (916) 319-2141                                                                                              

Assemblyman Brian Nestande
Member, Assembly Budget Subcommittee Number 2 on Education Finance
State Capitol, Room 4139
Sacramento, CA.  95814
Fax:  (916) 319-2164

Assemblyman Sandre Swanson
Member, Assembly Budget Subcommittee Number 2 on Education Finance
State Capitol, Room 6012
Sacramento, CA.  95814
Fax:  (916) 319-2116

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

How 'bout this to add to an Author's contract?

Our friend, Mary Minow of has drafted language for author's to add to their contracts with publishers when they negotiate for digital rights.  It would be amazing if a popular author could pick this language up and run with it.
Author’s Rights To Allow Library Loans
Notwithstanding any terms or conditions to the contrary in any author agreement between Author and Publisher, Author shall retain the non-exclusive, irrevocable, royalty-free right to authorize the loaning of digital copies of Author's work, facilitated by libraries on a one-user-at-a-time basis.

As Jamie LaRue of Douglas County writes:

"The challenge in the 21st century isn't going to be to get published. It will be to get NOTICED. That hand-selling of favorite authors, that recommending to new readers a wonderful new find, are just what libraries are about."

If any of you have relationships with authors, we'd love for you to run this language past them and see what they think.  And let us know what you think, too. 

Best Practices in Virtual Reference webinar helps you keep your lights on longer

Public, academic and special libraries alike are struggling with cuts to their hours and staff, making it more difficult to be in front of your patrons when they need you. Libraries all over are trying to figure out how to position themselves as a valuable resource when they can’t keep the lights on as long as they used to.

Join OCLC for a free webinar in the Best Practices for Virtual Reference series. This session, “Keeping the Virtual Lights on 24/7”, will focus on how being part of a cooperative group can allow you to keep your library open virtually at all hours and reach patrons whenever they might be working, even if it’s not from 9-5.

We’ll explore the challenges and benefits to working through a cooperative. Most libraries already belong to some group or consortia and expanding the ways we work together are important in this challenging economy. As with any joint venture, it helps to know what worked and what didn’t work for others before jumping in. And, if you’re already working as a group, there’s always room for improvement!

Susan McGlamery of OCLC will lead the conversation along with Rosa Caballero-Li, Manager, AskNYPL at New York Public Library, Cynthia Johnson, Head of Reference and Acting Head of the Grunigen Medical Library, University of California, Irvine, and Lynn Jones, Reference and Instruction Librarian, Moffitt Library, University of California, Berkely. We look forward to hearing from you, too!

The free webinar is open to all.
Best Practices in Virtual Reference: Keeping the Virtual Lights on 24/7
March 6, 2012
1:00pm – 2:00pm Eastern

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Is Virtual Reference on your list of New Year’s Resolutions? Join Califa and OCLC January 31 to learn about the steps you can take to improve your Virtual Reference visibility and effectiveness as found in the OCLC report Seeking Synchronicity. The report’s authors, Lynn Silipigni Connaway and Marie Radford, will discuss their research and what they learned from librarians and library users alike. The second part of the webinar will allow time for your questions and an online conversation with your peers on how virtual reference is used successfully throughout the country.

Friday, January 6, 2012

January 5, 2012


FROM:           Mike Dillon, CLA Lobbyist
                        Christina DiCaro, CLA Lobbyist

RE:                 News From the Capitol

No New Funding For Libraries Provided

Governor Jerry Brown was scheduled to release his January 2012-13 Budget next Tuesday at 9 a.m., per the annual constitutional deadline.  However, at some point today the Administration became aware that the Department of Finance had accidentally posted an early copy of the Governor’s 2012-13 Budget to its public website, which necessitated a quick change in plans for the Governor.   At 1:30 p.m. we received word that the Governor would call the press corps together at 2:30 p.m. today to unveil the Budget a little ahead of schedule.  When he subsequently met with the press, the Governor thanked them for convening with “relatively short notice.  There are no secrets in government.  The Budget was released earlier than planned.”

The Governor said that his focus for 2012-13 would be to push for his tax plan, which will appear on the November 2012 ballot (a half cent sales tax increase for five years and an increase in the income tax on $250K filers), as well as “paying down the wall of debt.”  He announced significant cuts to welfare programs (totaling $1.5 billion) and child care programs and he announced another “trigger” plan affecting higher education and K-12 schools, should the tax plan not pass in November.  The Governor provided no new funding for public library programs and, in fact, proposed a reduction to the State Library Administration.

You will recall that when the Governor and the Department of Finance announced they would be pulling the so-called “trigger” on massive reductions to UC, CSU, In Home Support Services, etc. in December, that action also included elimination of the $16 million in remaining funding for the California Library Services Act, the state literacy program, and the Public Library Foundation.   In the Governor’s Budget released today, he does not restore any of the so-called “trigger cuts” for public libraries.  In fact, the Governor’s Budget makes a $1.1 million cut to the State Library Administration Budget “to reflect a decrease in anticipated administrative workload resulting from 2011-12 trigger reductions that eliminated $15.9 million in local assistance programs.”  The Budget document goes on to state, “Despite this reduction, the California State Library will continue to preserve California’s history and cultural heritage, and share its collection of historic documents with the citizens of California.”

Next Steps

As previously reported, in early March the Budget Subcommittees on Education Finance (one in the Senate and one in the Assembly) will begin their work, examining the Governor’s 2012-13 Budget.  In the meantime, we will be working with legislators at the Capitol, encouraging them to build library funding back into the new State Budget.  We are going to be leaning on all of you in the coming weeks to write letters to the members of the subcommittees, and then subsequently to the full Budget Committees.  Next week we will send out another alert, confirming all of the 2012 subcommittee conferees, and providing legislator contact information, and some “talking points.”  This is going to be a challenging year.  Please look for an update from us in the coming days. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

brainfuse jobnow testimonials

A few weeks ago I posted that we would be working with Brainfuse on their JobNow program, which provides real-time job coaching to those seeking work, providing help on things like building a resume, interviewing, etc. 

Below are some testimonials from other libraries who have been using the service that I thought I would pass along to those of you who have thought about how a product like this could serve your communities.  And I'm also pasting the remaining webinar dates and reservation here, too.  If the dates aren't convenient for you, but you're interested in finding out more, let me know and we can get another one scheduled.  Also, if you want a quote, let me know.

The webinars are here (with registration links)
Date: Thursday, January 12, 2012
Time: 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM PST

Date: Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Time: 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM PST

Thank you!

Jefferson County Colorado testimonial -

Success stories:

San Bernardino County - Hesperia Branch:
 “I was out of work for over 2 ½ years… I came to the workshop… I was told [by the JobNow program] that there was too much information on my resume, so I weeded out all the unnecessary information… I posted my new resume online and within 2 days, I got several calls for interviews and a few days after that I was hired!!! ...Thank you for helping me find employment that I enjoy...” from a letter written by a job seeker who had been introduced to JobNow in the Hesperia branch, Grant Knowlton, Resource Center Manager
Friday, one of our regular customers went to a job fair in town; 30-40 employers and several hundred job-seekers, all dressed to the nines and with résumés in hand.
“I took my BrainFuse résumé, and the recruiter said that was the best résumé he had seen in a long time,” he said.   A couple of points attracted my attention: 1, the high quality was recognized by an HR professional, and 2, our patron had taken personal ownership of the brand, calling it his “BrainFuse résumé.”

Litchfield County, Connecticut
I just wanted you to know that I used the Resume Assistance feature of JobNow and was impressed with the results.  I had previously attended 3 resume workshops and had my resume reviewed by :  the CT Department of Labor, a Licensed Professional Counselor from a local community college, and a representative from an international Management Resource firm.  The analysis and feedback I got from the JobNow coach was by far the most helpful. 

MELSA Hennepin County
As a recent graduate, this service has proven to be more helpful than my university career center. One of the reasons that it is helpful is that it is non-confrontational and non-embarrassing. As an alum, you are not protected under FERPA. Communications like getting help on a resume are not always confidential in a university setting. A bad resume can be shared between friends, professors, or colleagues. That just isn't constructive when all people struggle with it. I am glad that I am able to take advantage of the Brainfuse service through my public library. This past session was particularly helpful because my cover letter has been coming off as overwhelming on one extreme and sounding like I am taking over a director's job on the other. Because I like to take a more creative approach to resume and cover letter writing, it has been helpful to particularly get feedback on resumes and cover letters that are styled like the TORI winners from Career Directors International. This is a great service and it just keeps getting better! :)

MELSA St. Paul Public Library

Subject: Workforce & JobNow success story

I just have to share another success story from the Arlington HotSpot!  This time it's in the area of Workforce.  I had a young man stop in this afternoon simply to tell me he just came from an interview where he got a job offer.  He said he got the offer because of the prep work he did here in the HotSpot and because of the help he received!  Yay!

He is a young guy just of the military who had been applying for security positions and had been in several times working on that.  I helped him a couple times working on his resume and we used the resume builder on JobNow and we also reviewed a lot of the interviewing tips and techniques on the JobNow site.  Two days ago he was in preparing for this interview.  We printed out his resume on our fancy new resume paper and we also did some research on the company with whom he was interviewing (we even used RefUSA!)

It's really gratifying that we where able to help him but even moreso that he stopped in specifically to tell me about his success and to tell me "Thanks."  Yay!