Thursday, April 05, 2007

Wow, Real Reference

I do a lot of looking up of titles, or subjects or sometimes even characters (do you have any Barbie books?) I search the catalog and find what the patron wants, or sometimes I don't, which is where another type of search comes in. I admit that I use Amazon to find titles. Their catalog is much easier to use when you don't know an exact title or author or maybe just have a vague subject(she said it was about a boy and an elephant in Pakistan...). Sometimes when that doesn't work, I go to Google. There are such tools as Books In Print, but that really gives you the same info as Amazon and you have to sign in/remember how to get there, etc. The same is true with the OCLC World Cat database. The only reason you would use this is if you needed to find out if a book is available somewhere in the world. Usually the material would be something obscure--although you can find anything that is cataloged at a library that participates in the OCLC and it will tell you what, when, where and how many, then give you a link to the library catalogs that own it.

I think I used World Cat once in library school for a class exercise. I used it again today to find whether libraries had Sears and Roebuck and Montgomery Ward catalogs from 1885-1905. Some do, mostly on micro fische. A gentleman came in asking if we could get them through interlibrary loan. I requested them for him through interlibrary loan. He needed them so that he could look at the pictures of stoves from that time period so that he could build a believable set. Pretty cool.

Another question I got today was for an article about eskimos that was in a 1971 National Geographic. Our periodicals databases don't go back that far and we don't keep physical copies at the branch for more than 2 years. I looked the article up online--the German version that was published in November is available on their website and I found that the English version was published in the February issue of the same year. I called the downtown library, and surprisingly, they had that issue in the lending library and were able to send it to the Green Lake Library so the patron could pick it up there, near where he lives.

Every question is important, but I really love these kind where I have to do a little digging. They might not be as satisfying if I couldn't find the information, but that doesn't happen often.


Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Jourdan Keith and a New Events Calendar

Jourdan Keith came to the middle school in my area today. She was very engaging and a wonderful storyteller. She got the students to participate in her event very nicely. A couple of them even got up and read what they wrote for everyone to hear, which is more self projection than I have seen for a long time from a middle school student.

She started off with a story, asking the kids a lot of questions and allowing them to answer. By the end, when she asked for ideas of animals that they thought were weird, kids were holding up their hands up to answer several times. She told another story, this one a "how and why," and tied it into poetry--using haiku as an introduction or an ending for a story. She had the students use any of the animal suggestions and write a how and why story, then asked for volunteers to read to the class. Two children got up and read their ideas out loud. Everyone was polite and listened and they clapped after they were done. It was very supportive and creative.

After the poetry event, I went to my TSL meeting at GLK. I missed the first half, and the whole next hour was a sort of break. When everyone came back to order, we heard from the IT department about our new calendar. It is going to be very exciting. The old calendar, which is still up, is clunky and abreviated, not very interesting and not user friendly. The new calendar will be much more user friendly, providing the option of rss feeds and email notification for both individual events and event groupings (by age group, branch, etc). It will be much prettier and cleaner, with pictures representing the events and color coding for event types. The calendar will also allow a uniformity throughout the website, so that when an event goes on the calendar, the same description will be used on the branch page and anywhere else the event is featured. When the description is updated all of the others will be as well (can we say xml?). Yay to a new calendar day! (coming soon to a library webpage near you...)

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