Thursday, May 31, 2007

MLA 2007 tags on Flickr

More conference photos:

MLA2007 tag

Montana Libraries Pool

2007 Conference Photos

Thanks to Lisa Mecklenberg-Jackson for these great photos from this year's MLA 2007 Conference. Click through to add your comments!

Set 1

Set 2 by John York

Sunday, April 29, 2007

flickr 101: Taking Pictures, Making Connections

Shelly Drumm of BCR rewarded attendees with a presentation of flickr and its possible uses in promoting our libraries. She addressed the questions of what it is, how it works, why it is unique, how libraries and librarians can use it, and led a discussion of issues and concerns with using it.

flickr is for online photo storage, a photo organizer, a large photo database, a resources for photo sharing, and a place for social networking. After explaining its inner workings, Shelly pointed out its unique qualities when compared to similar services. flickr includes social aspects, sets and slideshows, favorites, fun tools, and Creative Commons licensing options. It can be used to share library events, share marketing ideas, and meet other librarians.You can access and experiment with your own uses for flickr at

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Web Searching for All

On Friday, 27 April, Greg Notess, well known search engine expert of Montana State University, Bozeman, showed his audience of librarians the latest iterations of the main Web search databases. These included Ask, Google, Live Search (MSN), Yahoo! Search, Exalead, and Gigablast. Greg demonstrated how these various choices can give different results with similar searches and their differences in searching abilities. Using more than one of these is necessary especially when one does not find what she/he is seeking.

Overlap among the various databases is good for organization home pages, major pages, and frequently visited sites but not so good for deeply buried pages, forums, and social networking pages. Greg also touched upon "search switching" for searching across search engines, "shortcuts" for quick answers, "questions & answers" where the searcher submits a question in natural language, and a variety of search features in the various databases. Some search engine betas include SearchMash, AskX, and Alpha Beta. Greg always does an excellent job with these sessions and I strongly recommend attending his sessions in the future.

Greg's PowerPoint Presentation is available at <>.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Making some noise: podcasting at your library

This was a most excellent class! Shelly Drumm from BCR taught the class and she was an exciting and energizing presenter. The workshop showed how easy it really is to produce a podcast and get it out there so your patrons can access it.
Here's a sample of one I made using

Later boys and girs.

Health Sciences Interest Group

On Thursday, 26 April, Laurel Egan of St. James Hospital, Butte, led our Health Sciences Interest Group in a discussion of possible technologies that we could use in our various libraries which serve medical professionals, nursing and other students. As an aside, the Pacific Northwest Chapter of the Medical Libraries Association will hold its annual conference in Billings, MT, from 28 September to 2 October, 2007.

The discussion returned to the topic of how we are using technology in our libraries. Some in our group bemoaned the fact that their libraries were basically locked down with regards to free access to the system for experimentation with the latest technologies and ideas in presenting information. The problem seemed to involve security and firewalls.

Laurel has been using blogs to get her information across to professionals at her institution. She discussed the value of blogs in the health sciences and mentioned some of the blogging software which she found valuable in building her sites. If any of us would like to create our own blogs, Laurel has offered to walk us through some of the problems.

Choosing a provider for your blog depends upon what you want your blog to do. Some providers include Blogspot, WordPress, Xanga, and LiveJournal. Laurel also recommended "mooshing" the names of blogs which may contain sensitive information (e.g. sjhdiabetes) to hide the blogs from "outsiders" when necessary. Having created a blog for physicians to maintain currency on some of the medical literature without getting buy-in from the physicians, Laurel used her site as an example of what not to do. She emphasized the necessity of discovering the needs of one's clients and what they are willing to make use of before creating a resource which they may not use.

Hot Water, Hot Discussion!

It's that time of year again: The Hot Tub Book Discussion!

This year's title, "Anansi Boys" by Neil Gaiman, is sure to provoke some great discourse and dialog. Even if you have not read this fun New York Time's Best-seller, do come on down to brush up on your Mr. Neil Gaiman before he speaks Saturday morning.

Begin meeting at the Hot Tub (in the Colonial Red Lion) around 915-930ish, swimming attire not required, just come have a great time. Bring a drink, bring a friend, bring your rapier wit and intellect!

Limes are welcome!

I'll be seeing you, in hot water... :o)

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Keynote by Nancy Pearl

Nancy Pearl, who "went to Mukilteo to be digitized" (for her action figure), titled her keynote speech, "The Pleasures and Perils of a Life of Reading," and defined herself as "a reader." She humorously gave the example of being "trapped" in the bathroom in the Mallory Hotel on the verge of panic realizing that she had nothing substantial to read. That's when she accepted the depths of her reading addiction.

As a child in a self-described dysfunctional family, Nancy escaped to the local library to travel to the other worlds that books allowed her to flee. She read a great deal, under the guidance of her mentor Miss Whitehead, at the public library and under the spell of books and Miss Whitehead became a children's librarian. During her years of reading and getting others to read she came to realize that "through books and reading we can have any number of lives."

Nancy shared the adventures of writing her books, Booklust, More Booklust (aka Booklust II: The Morning After), and Bookcrush. She stressed the importance of the first line of a book and gave various examples of books she fell in love with after reading just the first line. Nancy inspired us all to continue our love of books and reading and to not give them up too easily in this age of the World Wide Web.

A Fresh Approach to Reader's Advisory

Nancy Pearl presented a fresh approach to Reader's Advisory to many of us in this afternoon's session. She shared that we all enter books through four different doorways; story, character, setting, and language.

Important points to remember when doing RA:

  • "It's not about you!"
  • You don't have to have loved a book or even read it to suggest it to a patron. In fact it's okay if you hated the book.
  • Ask patron to tell you about a book that they liked. In 30-45 seconds you can determine what doorway (story, character, setting, or language) the patron entered through.
  • Give the patron three books. One that is very similar, one that is closely related, and finally one that is a bit of a stretch; from a different section of the library even. They shoud share the same doorway.
  • Remember that mood can affect patron preferences. Ask "What are you in the mood for today?"

The other point that Nancy brought home to me today was that while the newly published books get the prime real estate, "a new book is any book that the patron hasn't read."

Personally, I find that I enter books most often through the character and language doorways. Sometimes when I haven't read fiction in a while a good story can grab me too. One of my recent favorites was Life of Pi by Yann Martel (character).

What doorway do you enter books through most often? What have been some of your recent favorites? Post in the comments.

Catherine McMullen, Bozeman Public Library,

Book Club Discussion group wins Nancy!

It's official, the Book Club Discussion interest group has won dinner with Nancy Pearl. The final bid was $270 and was announced during the Keynote address given by Nancy. We are dining at the Brew Pub and I am so looking forword to this! Her Keynote address was so entertaining and her class on Readers Advisory was just terrific. I am going to take my Nancy Pearl librarian action figure to dinner tonight where we can hear more "Pearls" of wisdome from Nancy.

Legal Reference for Non-Law Librarians

Tammy A. Hinderman and Christine Mandiloff, of the State Law Library of Montana and Montana Legal Services Association respectively, began the morning with a presentation which proved valuable to both public and academic librarians. Tammy presented attendees with an overview of the three branches of government, both state and federal, and the types of resources created by each, including statutes, opinions, rules, and forms. She pointed out the secondary sources which could be consulted for legal reference questions: dictionaries, encyclopedias, treatises, articles, book, and sample forms and discussed how to attack a legal reference question by identifying the patron and the type of question. The legal reference framework included the resources of one's own library, the Web, the State Law Library, and proceeding to other organizations.

Christine led us through an overview of and its resources. This site provides valuable assistance in areas for Families and Kids, Public Benefits, Consumer, Housing, American Indian Issues, Employment, Domestic Violence, Seniors, and the Legal System sections. It also includes legal information for the public, local listings of legal aid offices, local community resources, a directory of local courts, automated forms (coming soon), and a LiveHelp chat service.

Tammy continued with an overview of the State Law Library of Montana site, providing a variety of services and resources. Here one can find laws by topic, forms, statutes and rules, links to free Web sites, and suggested books, Montana Supreme Court Cases, opinions, and briefs, and a Law Library Newsfeed. She ended with other resources available through the Web and at the State Law Library.

Christine concluded the presentation with an overview of the Montana Legal Services Association, "a federally and privately funded program that provides free legal assistance in civil cases to low-income people." She also explained who qualifies for this service, the types of legal assistance offered, and what the service cannot do. A hotline for information (1-800-666-6899) and brochures covering 35 legal topics are also available.

Montana's Changing Economy & Census Data

Excellent talk this morning in the Gallery computer lab on the state of Montana's economy, census data, and where things are going over the next several years. Brad Eldridge (spelling?) gave a good overview on current trends (and an excellent job as fill-in presenter!) What was most interesting was the tight work force currently in the state, with unemployment hovering around 2%. He said that there has only been one state ever that has gone under 2%, and that was Maine back in the 80's. Interesting if Montana can beat that mark! He also pointed out that Montana could be in trouble with available work force unless we can somehow either increase the productivity of current workers or increase the number of available workers in the state by increasing retirement rates or increasing in-migration or even immigration. Interesting stuff.
Susan Ockert, Senior Research Economist for the state, also went throught the state's available data sources and walked us all through it. I'm continually impressed with the amount of data the state has on it's website. I spend a lot of time helping business students find demographics, etc. and I can tell their impressed with what their state offers.

p.s. Just outside the conference room there's a rowdy group kicking off the new Montana Librarians Calendar. Sounds like fun, I hope someone blogs it!!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

What was your most challenging reference question

That is what we are going to talk about next. One virtual reference question that was a real challenge for me was from someone in Wyoming who wanted to know "what that purple flower was" in his yard. Gee, after pushing dozens of flower identification web pages to him I finally thought to suggest he go to his local extension office.

I just learned stuff about Google that I had not taken the time to explore before. Much wonderful stuff in the advanced search area. There is never enough time to really learn all the wonderful info that is available:(

One web site we talked about was , a great way to develop a portable bookmark collection and fined even more places you want to bookmark.

The below info was from the Business Resources part of the class by Christy donaldson
Ohh, I did not know the Occupational Outlook Handbook was online!

Note to self: Buy Business Plans Handbook, Gale Group and Small Business Sourcebook for library.

Some other good ref questions: Can you answer them?

There was this poem and he died

Is the house I live in a former red light house?

What's this dead bug I found in my washing machine?

Picture or plan for a turtle trap

What was a rest area in Mineral County named?

Yee Haw!

Wednesday April 25
Reference and Beyond
My first class and I'm sure I will learn many cool nifty things. So far I've learned about offering food and beverages in the library, cell phone issues and how reference is changing. For instance; the reference desk is now the information desk or the help desk. I like the trend away from library language. Another cool thing is to get librarians out from behind their desks mingling with the great unwashed. Gotta go, class is back in session
AKA Crazy Library Lady

Friday, March 16, 2007

Edible book art contest

Mm, mm, good!

Are you a reader, creative, AND a wiz in the kitchen? Then I have the perfect event for you. An edible book contest! Start thinking about your favorite book--and whether you could turn it into something edible. Look for inspiration here.
Books will be showcased at MLA 2007 with the winner receiving a fabulous prize. With good participation, this could become an annual event--how festive! So come up with your best edible book art. We'll eat it in your honor! Please contact me with any questions,

Participate--it will be much fun. Thanks! Lisa, MLA 2007 Planning Co-Chair