Head Librarian’s Report February 2011

[Nicole’s Note: along with the agenda come numerous attachments, one of which is the Friends newsletter, and one is “What’s Up in Docs”, an internal library newsletter.  Let me know if you’d like to see the latter, which has tidbits of interest for library geeks.  I’ll also have a separate post with the minutes of the Committee on Finance soon.]

The Head Librarian’s report, with links added by yours truly, continues after the break.

Youth Services Division

On February 14th, Anne Hrobsky and Mora McAvey repeated the Parent Information Center training for adult learning staff members (8) at the Fanning Building.  Because these WPS teachers focus on adult learners, we concentrated our presentation on library services and databases that would support adult learners.  Our  success was validated several days later when we found one of the teachers in the WPL Computer Lab with her students.  A WPL kiosk where students can sign up for library cards in the Fanning Building is in the planning stages.

The winning entries to Worcester Historical Museum’s Annual Valentine Contest have been on display in the Main Library’s Children’s Room cases during February.  After the award ceremony in the Saxe Room Tuesday, February 8th, a crowd formed around the display for viewing and picture-taking.

Also held on February 8th, a screening of Babies was attended by approximately 75 early child educators.  The film was followed by a discussion by Dianne Bruce, Executive Director of Edward Street Child Services.  Participation in both activities gave attendees the opportunity to earn PDPs.  This well received evening will be repeated in April during Week of the Young Child.

At the request of several teen patrons, the Teen Book Club resumed meeting on February 9th.  These avid readers looked to WPL’s YA Librarian, Rezarta Tupja, to lead the discussion of Sing Down the Moon by Scott O’Dell.  The first successful meeting will be followed bya dicsussion of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins on March 16th.

After weeks of preparation, the four-member Scratch Team from WPI, John Flynn, John Pearsall, Yuming Wu and Mike Pettiglio, held 2 training sessions at GBV on February 14th where they taught their 1st lesson on using Scratch to create online games to teens.  This real-life teaching experience coupled with 2 training sessions for WPL staff helped the group prepare for the culmination of their Interactive Qualifying Project, a sequence of 4 workshops introducing Scratch to teens during school vacation week, February 22-25.  Fourteen teens (including a waiting list of 12 teens) meet for 2 hours/day in the Computer Lab.  The WPI students used a Powerpoint slideshow, the smart board and live demonstration as well as individual assistance to present the lessons they prepared this winter.  The training videos, online references, and slideshow will be added to the WPL website to support independent learning.  This is the beginning of an exciting new program at Worcester Public Library that combines teen interest to video gaming, self-expression, and 21st century learning skills.

During February school vacation week, a historically busy week in the Children’s Room, the Children’s Program Room was converted into a small theater.  At 10:00 am movies were shown every morning, Tuesday-Friday.  Light refreshments were served to add to the ambience.

Respectfully submitted,

Technology Services Division

Taiwan Sublime
“Taiwan Sublime,” Taiwanese photography exhibition presenting natural scenery and cultural wonders of the islands, has taken place in the Library from January 11 to February 10.  An opening reception featuring exotic Taiwanese food and performances of traditional Chinese music, folk arts and dances was held on Saturday, January 22nd.  The entire program was sponsored by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Boston and the Library.  We had over 100 people attend the reception and Mayor Joseph C. O’Brien was one of our special guests.

Circulation Department

  • Online Discussion Board was created for all circulation staff to read and comment on circulation draft policies.
  • Circulation Manager Anne White has created and distributed a work survey to her staff for the purpose of giving staff an opportunity to share their favorite aspects of their jobs (and least favorite), to request more training in specific areas, and make comments and/or suggestions.
  • Three new museum passes were added to current offerings: Fitchburg Art Museum, Mass Audubon Sanctuaries Pass, and State Parks Pass.  Circulation has taken on this responsibility for a few months now, high remarks have been made by library users because of efficiency and less confusion.
  • All 4 supervisors are now working on special assignments: Rita Fleming is working on a welcome package for all new card holders; Nancy and Sue are working on Interlibrary Loan policy; Anne is the Chair of the Welcoming Task Force.
  • Sue Groccia collected masters of every form and document used in the circulation department and centralized these in one notebook.
  • A revised item request slip was born to allow staff to use only one paper slip for each gift or problematic item to travel from Circulation to Subject Specialist, and finally to Technical Services staff for database management and processing.  This effort was resulted from a workflow efficiency discussion among Circulation and Technical Processing supervisors.

IT Department

  •  Finally, Mike has SolarWinds configured!  Ming also did the setup and installed SQL server for SolarWinds.  It’s an Orion Network Performance Monitoring and Orion NetFlow Traffic Analyzer.  In other words, this software can be used to monitor and analyze the Library’s computer network traffic, including Internet bandwith issue.  It is a complex setup, which includes making modifications to our core Cisco 6509 switch.  Thanks go to the Friends of the Library for this generous gift for the IT Department!
  • Digital signage displays were created for all of the Online Public Access Catalogs (OPAC) when these computers are not in use.  Mike configured a group policy template and stored the pictures/images from a single share on the network to allow fast content update.  These creative screensavers are the perfect signage to direct patrons to use OPAC in finding library materials.
  • Installed Scratch, a programming language for creating interactive stories, animations, games, etc. and sharing the creations on the web, on all Computer Lab and GBV branch computers for the presentation of WPI student project.  Ming is in the process of creating new web pages to allow the entire content being accessible from the Libary web site.
  • We have three Charter cable lines that offer Internet service for staff and public use at Main Library.  Unfortunately, IT staff have spent more than a week of time in diagnosing staff modem issues with Charter Communications, our Internet Service Provider.  Charter technical staff, including two higher level tech supervisors, have visited the Library for 4 times and replaced modems twice to solve the Internet connection issue.  It is stable as of now.
  • Ming configured and customized the Wowbrary setting based on reference staff request.  It is a subscription service for alerting patrons on our new materials acquisitions.

Periodicals Department

  • The EBSCO renewal list has been compared and updated with our internal title list, which was completed last month.  This final list contains periodicals and magazine titles for all three locations, including Talking Book Library in the calendar year of 2012.
  • Joan Stearns and Periodicals staff have been preparing library materials for annual shipment to bindery this month.  In the past, the Library simply shipped our items to CMRLS, the Central Massachusetts Regional Library System, directly for processing.  Since CMRLS no longer exists, Joan worked out a deal with our former bindery vendor, the Bridgeport National Bindery, to pick up and ship back our materials without any shipping charge and still pay the same fee for processing.
  • Becky investigated purchasing details for half a dozen new direct order titles for magazines at the Main Library.  We are targeting mid-March to start these new subscriptions.
  • Staff attended training on EBSCO.net service to better manage our magazine titles through EBSCO on February 2.  Two EBSCO staff came on site to conduct the training.

Technical Processing and Cataloging Departments

  • Jeremy organized an informational workshop for all library staff on the Barnes and Noble e-reader device Nook on February 10.  Diane Abramson, B&N’s local community relations manager, came on site to do the live demo and answered staff questions.
  • Circulation, Periodicals, and Technical processing staff continue working collaboratively on the Dual Barcode Project to fix items with extraneous barcodes, more than 50% of prefix 381 barcodes have been completed.  For the month of February, a total of 2,734 item records have been manually corrected and a total of 5,228 items have been re-barcoded.
  • Jeremy and Wei started a series of meetings to work with Division Heads and their staff to discuss weeding/inventory projects.  We have done the initial meeting with Youth Division.  8 item reports have been generated as a result of that meeting.  Valuable information is revealed through these reports.  More actions have to be taken!
  • The first automatic order for FPBL has been received and processed.  There are 120 items at the amount of $3200.  It is a pilot project by using the subject specialist’s ordering profile of popular fiction and non-fiction titles to expedite the collection management process and to have our major materials vendor, Baker & Taylor, to send these express order carts directly to acquisitions staff Jeremy, which also speeds up the ordering, receiving, and cataloging process to put materials out on the shelves for patron use.

Respectfully submitted,

Reference Services Division

Tax Help

Saturdays in February, March, and April [up to and including April 16] the Library hosts the AARP Tax Assistance Program.  Trained volunteers in the Library computer lab prepare tax returns for seniors and other citizens.  The librarians book the appointments and explain what is needed to use the service.  This is a popular annual program that fills up fast.

The Library has available the most needed federal and state tax forms on the second floor at the Reference Desk.  Librarians offer assistance with downloading and/or copying tax forms.  Patrons can use the Career computers on the second floor to do their tax forms online because the Librarians can extend time to someone in the middle of filling out a form.

Chinese Culture

On February 5, the Chinese New Year was celebrated in style.  The performance by the Mulan Performing Arts Association attracted an overflowing audience of over 200 people.  The spectacular costumes and varied singing, dancing, and musical performances captivated people of all ages and backgrounds.  See for yourself by checking out pictures on WPL’s Facebook page.  At the end, the audience was treated to Chinese style desserts – candy, cookies, and beverages.  This was the second big cultural event featuring Asian culture in two months.  One patron, a parent of an adopted Chinese child, said that she was thrilled to be able to expose her little girl to her cultural roots.  Attendees came from outside of central Massachusetts to enjoy this annual program.  Reference Librarian Pingsheng Chen brought this event to our doors.

Dazzling Database Demo

Mora McAvey went with Youth Services Division Head Anne Hrobsky to visit the WPS Fanning School to meet with GED and ESL teachers.  She demonstrated two helpful databases paid for by WPL for WPL library card holders.  One was Learn-A-Test that gives practice with math, reading, and more in preparation for GED, and for civil service and other tests.  The other was Career Accelerator, a program to help guide adults into matching their skills to careers, creating a resume, and doing a job search.  Both are valuable resources to adults learners that are accessible 24/7 through the library website.  She encouraged the adult learner classes to visit the Library to get their Library cards and have a Library tour.

Wow for Wowbrary

Visitors to the website will see new book titles featured prominently in the center of the screen, and information front and center about a new service called Wowbrary, which has been customized and implemented by the Reference Department to show new titles as they are ordered.  If you would like to be among the first to know about the newest books, DVDs, and CDs acquired by the library, you should consider signing up for Wowbrary.  You will get a weekly email alert on Wednesdays to showcase the Worcester Public Library’s most recent acquisitions.  The weekly newsletter features books, movies, music CDs, audio books, and more that the library purchases each week.  Clicking on the Borrow link will take you to the library’s catalog where you can request a book or movie to be picked up when the item is ready.

Continuing Programs

The Computer Basics Class and the Resume and Job Search Class continues weekly, with a waiting list.

Volunteer Dr. Terry Chapman gives one-on-one Resume and Job Help on Tuesday mornings for walk-ins and for appointments.  The appointments feature has been a big success, allowing for some extended time with an individual.

Consult With A Librarian every Wednesday evening has been useful when it comes to giving extensive research help, and now more and more it is used to help someone understand their new technology gadget, or how to download e-books.  Librarians from other libraries have come to WPL for this help.

This month’s Genealogy Workshop (Feb. 10) was on the U.S. Census — the single most important U. S. genealogy tool.

This month’s Grants Workshop filled the computer lab, and Mora McAvey, Foundation Center Librarian , reports that it was very well received.

Continuing Projects

Library staff continued work digitizing the additional material updating Michael True’s Worcester Area Writers, 1680-1980.

Staff continued learning and practicing for the Reader’s New Technology Petting Zoo by working Kindle, Nook Color, and iPad.

Reference titles added included new Gale e-reference works in various subjects.

Mora McAvey, wearing her hat as Community Services Librarian, attended the Worcester Cultural Coalition’s Legislative Breakfast as a representative from WPL.

Don’t forget that the Worcester Public Library’s own Legislative Breakfast is coming up on March 11 from 8:00 to 9:30.

Upcoming Genealogy Days in April

The 4th Annual Genealogy Days at the Worcester Public Library will be held on Friday and Saturday April 29th and 30th 2011.  This event, sponsored by WPL along with several other genealogical associations, features workshops by renowned genealogists on many topics.  This year’s conference is expected to draw between 130 and 150 participants each day, from as far away as Florida and California.  Many bring families, who “hang out” in the Library, or take the opportunity to explore Worcester.  All speakers and other facilitators, including several retired WPL librarians, volunteer their time.  The event is free, although pre-registration is required.  This annual event is something WPL is very proud of.  This year’s donations to the Genealogy Fund will be put toward the cost of a new microfiche reader printer that would bring our fiche/film technology up to date.

Branch Busy-ness with Youth Services Division

The Great Brook Valley Library had a Make Your Own Valentine Program in conjunction with the Worcester Historical Museum.

GBV also brought together WPI students with middle-schoolers and teens to have computer fun with a create your own computer game program called, yes, Scratch.

Coming Up on the Civil War.

WPL together with other city cultural institutions, other city agencies, and the G. A. R., is participating in a series of programs, March through November, held throughout the City, that is in commemoration of the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War.  For the Spring, there will be a series of three Civil War films shown at the Library on three different dates on the first Tuesday of March, April, and May.  Then on the second Tuesday of each month, a discussion of the movie: the battles, the people, and the theme, will be lead by a facilitator.  This leader is WPI professor, Reynaldo Rodrigues, Secretary, G. A. R. Memorial Hall Board of Trustees.

Women in Print for Women’s History Month

On Wednesday, March 9, from 5:30 to 7:00, the Library will host “Women in Print 2011” sponsored by the Worcester Women’s History Project.  This night will feature Janette Greenwood, Eve Rifkah, and Jessica Bane Robert.  Snow date is March 16.

Respectfully submitted,


Worcester Talking Book Library update.  Jim Izatt and I continue to meet with representatives from the Perkins School for the Blind and the Board of Library Commissioners to establish guidelines for reviewing possible economies and efficiencies in the two programs.  Jim and I also presented testimony to the House Ways & Means Committee regarding the WTBL program.  We have also been in contact with area legislators to advocate for the program.

We have joined several committees that have been formed to advance the Promise Neighborhood Grant initiative in Main South.  As previously reported, there is great optimism for the success of the grant application and the possibility of establishing library services in Main South.

We had a very productive meeting with the Hanover Insurance Group related to a request that they consider supporting a Summer pilot project to restore Bookmobile Services in the City.  We will be submitting a formal proposal in early March.

We had an encouraging conversation with the George I. Alden Trust requesting a continuation of their support of the Open Sunday initiative.  We will be submitting a formal grant application in early March.

We have submitted a $30,000.00 LSTA Grant Application to the Board of Library Commissioners to establish a citizenship attainment program in cooperation with the Literacy Volunteers of Greater Worcester.

We have submitted a proposal to TD Bank to support a variety of Summer Reading initiatives and programs.

We worked closely with the Foundation Board to hire and interim Executive Director. Foundation Board President Bob Nolan will have more to report to you on March 8th.

We will be participating in the City’s Stand Up Against Racism project that will culminate with a variety of programs on April 29th.

We have renewed our membership in the Worcester Cultural Coalition and have had several conversations with Executive Director Erin Williams around establishing a closer working relationship.

We have offered support to the efforts of the Goddard Library staff at WPI to bring a Big Read project to Worcester.  We would partner with WPI in this endeavour.

Wendy and I continue to have productive meetings with staff from the City Finance Department in regards to developing an FY12 Budget.

I had a nice tour of the Senior Center and discussed cooperative opportunities with director Amy Vogel Waters.

We attended legislative breakfasts in Dudley, Groton, and Westminster to support the legislative agenda of the MBLC and to advocate for the Talking Book Library.

One thought on “Head Librarian’s Report February 2011

  1. Tracy says:

    Thanks for posting this!

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