Head Librarian’s Report for October 2011

Youth Services Division Report: October 2011

Fall programming for both teens and children is well launched.  Our first two gaming sessions for children were modestly attended.  The kids were great about taking turns and working with Children’s Room staff as we work out logistics for running several gaming sessions simultaneously.  Many thanks to the Friends for game equipment and to Joel for patiently teaching staff to change the AV settings in the program room!

The generosity of the Friends of Worcester Public Library allowed the Children’s Room to host a balloon artist on Sundae Sunday, October 16th.  Nathan Murphy, a UMass student from Granby, wowed children and parents alike as he created an original balloon sculpture for each child, on demand.  Nathan, aka Mr. Balloon, overstayed his contracted time so as to leave no child without a balloon sculpture.

Terry Popek has started booktalking visits to Worcester schools interested in participating in the 2011-2012 Massachusetts Children’s Book Award.  Terry presents a book talk for each of the 25 titles nominated this year at each school visit.  In addition, Terry started the monthly discussions of MCBA books on October 26th with a student selected title, The Prince of Fenway Park by J. Baggott.  Pat Avis, Venerini school librarian, brought a student to the discussion and wrote, “Thank you for the fabulous Prince of Fenway Park book discussion.  You planned such a terrific event.  Your baseball game was really fun and of course the snacks were a huge home run!  Simon just beamed telling his classmates about all the fun he had at the library!”

Teen Manga enthusiasts are expanding their technical skills.  Thanks to a grant from South High School, ink, pens, and specialized paper was purchased to augment the paper and pencil that teens have been using for 2 years.  Youth Services hosted a site visit from the Community Service Learning Award Committee to help the participating South High Community School students understand how their grant expanded the Teen Manga Programs at the library.

Youth Services staff traveled to Northborough Free Library on October 17th.  In addition to holding our monthly meeting in their conference room, staff toured the new spaces for teens and for children in Northborough.  We were able to speak with Sandy Stafford, YA Librarian, about her process for designing and furnishing the Teen Room.  Sandy used moveable furniture selected by teens, black and green, and glassed in teen room for noise reduction.  The Children’s Room in Northborough uses a star motif and lots of color to create a warm, inviting place for young library patrons.  We hope to make more “field trips” as we consider how to improve our ten-year-old spaces in Worcester.

Also in the spirit of looking for ways to improve public service, Anne launched a Shelving Committee.  Our charge is to consider ways to get materials out to patrons as quickly as possible.  Every aspect of the process from cataloging to page hiring to shelf arrangements is a fair topic for consideration.  Committee members are drawn from many library departments and are excited to participate in this planning process.

If you have not had a chance to read the report on achieving educational excellence for Latino students in Worcester, you can find the report, Creating the Will, on Mayor Joe O’Brien’s website.  This is a short, carefully cnsidered starting point and includes many opportunities for Worcester Public Library to become a stronger participant in the success of Worcester students.

Technology Services Division October Report

Approval of Circulation Draft Policies

Five circulation draft policies were presented to the Library Materials Committee and later to theLibrary Board on its June 14th meeting.  Two online platforms were created to allow the Library Board directors and staff to review these draft policies and make comments.  A brief overview of the publicity plans after Board’s approval on these policies will be presented in the November Board meeting.

AMH & SO RFID System

A 3 page Library AMH & RFID Implementation Check List was distributed to the AMH Task Force and all the Circulation staff for inputs.  It was also discussed at the Materials Management supervisors meeting to gain more perspectives of the projects on October 7th.   This list has also been shared with the Shelving Committee members at its 2nd meeting.

Another AMH and RFID vendor, the RFID Library Solutions, was invited to give the AMH team an onsite demo and presentation on October 21 and October 24.  Wei did a PowerPoint presentation to the AMH team and Division Heads when Jeff Hoover, the Library’s original architect, visited us for space planning meeting on October 28.

Evergreen Migrations

According to the C/W MARS November Users Council meeting, the new Evergreen ILS system will go live on January 2, 2012.  It will take a two-week period of time (from Dec. 16, 5 pm to Dec. 30, 5 pm) for the consortium staff to migrate and export data into the new system, which means that the backroom staff of every member library will not be able to use the Ill system for any data entry during those two weeks.  However, Circulation staff is stil able to check in and out library materials for our patrons.  A list of to-do items was discussed by the Materials Management supervisors to fully utilize the system downtime.  From December 30, 5 pm to January 2, 8 am, public libraries will not have access to any system during this period and will have to use the Evergreen offline circulation if library is open to the public.  Thanks to the Board Directors who granted the closing on Saturday, December 31 at the last Board meeting, there will not be any inconvenience to our patrons by using the offline circulation.  Two features that we currently have, the E-Commerce and Kids Catalog, will not be available when the new Evergreen ILS system goes live.

iPad Project

Since May, Apple Inc. started signing contracts with some individual magazine publishers to allow their online interactive magazines to be viewed on iPad.  The Library has free access to these online magazines through our annual print subscriptions of periodicals.  Hence, there is the birth of this iPad project!  It took months of research, discussion, and testing to finally launch the “Magazines on iPad” at the beginning of November.  Four iPads are now available for patron use at the Periodicals Department on the 3rd Floor.  This project has involved mant collaborative efforts among our Simmons intern Susan, IT, Periodicals, and Knowledge Access departmental staff.  Thanks to the generosity of the Friends Board for purchasing the safe locks to allow our patrons to explore the new magazine format on these four iPad2 devices.

Resources Management Librarian

The vacant position has been approved and posted on the Library website and other online ads.  The interview process will start in November.

Circulation Department

During the month of October the Circulation Department has been very engaged with the process of learning more about RFID and AMH technologies.  Supervisors attended meetings with the RFID Library Solutions vendor and with the architect of the current structure.  Circulation staff are updated regularly and encouraged to make suggestions in relation to our needs and what a great AMH system would look like for the library.

Circulation numbers increased from last month and also from October of 2011.  Total circulation at the Main Branch this October was 58,371 as compared to 55,308 during October of last year.  In the upcoming month training will begin again on Evergreen as we prepare for migration the very first of the year.  Lots of good changes ahead for the Circulation Department.

Anne White participated in the E-Reader Task Force by giving suggestions on the circulating rules of these devices.

IT Department

Ming worked with Ping to have an online request form created to allow patrons to request Kindle or NookColor online and notify librarian at the same time.

  • Mike worked with Jeremy to re-configure the new Knowledge Access and Resource Management Department office workstations to be more productive and efficient.
  • Mike removed old domain controller that has been running since 2005. This is the last of the Windows Server 2003 domain controllers.  All the major servers are now on Windows 2008.
  • Four Apple iPads have been configured to provide patrons access to the online magazines, such as Time, People, Sports Illustrated, Self, and more.  Several other apps were also installed; for example, Google Earth and the News Channels, etc.  These iPads will be setup in the Periodicals area, replacing 3 of the 6 Online Database computers.  This is an effort to showcase some fo the latest technologies to our patrons while fulfilling the periodicals need for magazines.
  • Replaces 2 carousels on the DX2 during the month of October.  Sent faulty carousels back to ITG and they sent us new ones.
  • Ming upgraded MCBAG’s blog to the latest version and fixed the Antispam feature to avoid junk comments.
  • Two old kiosk computers were removed in preparation of new Viewsonic digital display.
  • Since we are going to move to new ISO RFID system, IT has tried to prolong the old Checkpoint Barcode Printer in Tech Services by re-configuring another old printer to print the same barcodes.
  • We have been experiencing bounced back emails from some recipients.  It is a lengthy process and IT staff is working with Charter to correct the issue.
  • Ming is migrating and updating the Altiris server from 6.9 SP4 to 6.9 SP5 with Windows SQL 2008.   The Altiris applications have saved IT staff dramatic time in imaging machines, remote controls desks and populating software installation.
  • Once again, thanks to the Friends Board to purchase web software for Ming to create a moving ad on the “Prime Lot” of the Library Homepage.  You may expect more creative promotional announcements appere there in the near future.

Knowledge Access and Resources Management Services (used to be Cataloging, Technical Processing, and Periodicals Departments)

  • Jeremy and Joan completed updating holdings data for periodical titles in Children’s Room, YA, and both branches.
  • October was a huge month for weeding with 2,879 OCLC holding deletions.
  • Jeremy participated in the first two meetings for the newly formed Shelving Committee, and as an off shoot of this also held a subcommittee meeting to discuss series collections.
  • Staff attended vendor presentations from 3M, Midwest Tapes, Baker & Taylor, CollectionHQ, and RFID Library Solutions.
  • Jeremy began serving as LIC on the floor.
  • The library’s e-readers began circulating necessitating some changes to acquisitions and processing procedures based upon early experiences.
  • C/W MARS sent the department a list of roughly 2,700 bibliographic records requiring record overlays.  This prompted an audit of old order records, which cleared out a great deal of old data that would not migrate to Evergreen in January and reduced this project by about 1,000 items.  Work has begun on addressing the remaining portion of the list.
  • Jeremy successfully sent test orders to two of the library’s 3 primary vendors from within the new Evergreen system.
  • All on the fly records in the system have been corrected.
  • Procedures for the iPad magazine launch were finalized and the iPads are to be made available to patrons in the periodicals department on November 1.

October Adult Reference Department Activities

Featured Service: The E-book Reader Lending Pilot Project

The Library has started lending the Color Nook and the Kindle to library patrons.  A small collection of e-reader devices (four Kindles and four Color Nooks) are checked out to eligible borrowers for a two-week loan.   Patrons have the option of choosing which device they would like to request and which additional book they would like the Library to preload on the device.  The waiting list is growing daily.  The early feedback is positive.  Patrons who are thinking of purchasing an e-reader appreciate the opportunity of testing the two types of devices and patrons who cannot afford to purchase one, enjoy free access to the new technology and e-books.  You can find more information on the WPL website.

Thanks to the Friends of WPL for their collaboration with this venture, and to the Adult, Teen, and Children’s Reference Staff who received state money for their offering of classes to other librarians in the State and were able to direct these funds toward the project.

The project was developed by Pingsheng Chen, Reference Supervisor and E-Resources Librarian and was led by Mark Contois.  Ping worked with Jeremy Goldstein, Technical Services Department, and Anne White, from the Circulation Department, to develop the acquisition, cataloging and circulation procedure for the pilot program.  Reference staff received training to handle checking out the devices and to provide instruction to patrons on how to use the e-readers.

See Digital Downloads on the WPL Website for digital collection information.

 Companion Services: Kindle, Nook Titles Offered Free, etc.

While there is a waiting list for the e-readers (above), library patrons who already have their own Kindles and Nooks now have access to downloadable books for free from the Library collection.  Find more information by visiting the Digital Downloads section of the WPL website.  Here you will find an explanation of what to do if you would like to read a book on your Kindle, Nook, Sony, iPhone, iPad, Android phone, or other e-reader or smartphone.

 While We Are at It: Music Downloads Are Free, too.

See Freegal in the Digital Downloads section of the WPL website and click on the link to discover how to download free songs from the Library’s digital music collection.

Genealogy Programs with Joy Hennig, Local History and Genealogy Librarian
Oct 8 – Tracking Your Family through the US Census at the Falmouth Genealogical Society, Falmouth, MA
Oct 20 – Introduction to Local History Resources for Docents of Preservation Worcester
Oct 25 – Introduction to Local History Resources re Worcester athletics for a class from Worcester State/Professor Tom Conroy
Oct 27 – Workshop on Vital Records at WPL
Nov 3 – Assistance to class from alternative high school on resources pertaining to American Revolution
Nov 10 – See above, computer resources in Lab
Nov 15 – It’s All Relative program at Senior Center
Nov 17 – Tracking Your Family through the US Census at WPL

Finding Money for Libraries

A Grants Searching workshop was presented for the Massachusetts Library System professional development series by Mora McAvey, Foundation Center Librarian.  She was selected to do this program by the MLS.

Civil War 150th Anniversary Commemoration

This monthly serious continues with movies and discussion.

Regularly Scheduled Programs and Services

  • Resume Help – with Dr. Terry Chapman
  • Computer Basics – with Jillian Parsons and Mary Cocorochio, Reference Specialists
  • Computer Help Sessions – with Veronica Howley and Priya Subramanian, Reference Specialists
  • One-on-One Research Help Sessions – with Bill Sweeney, Reference Specialist
  • Digital Downloads Help – with Pingsheng Chen, E-Resources and Training Librarian
  • What’s Up in Docs – a monthly newsletter featuring government docs info and trivia.  Paul Pelletier, Government Documents Librarian.
  • Worcester Writers continues to meet to continue the project of documenting local literary history.  Joy Hennig and the Project Committee.
  • Tours for ESL and ABE classes are conducted regularly by Veronica Howley, Reference Specialist.

Special Exhibits and Promotional Items

Banned Books Display featured a collection of censored book and media titles, set off with crime scene tape and explanatory notes.  Remember Catcher in the Rye?  (Mora McAvey, Reference Specialists)

A Celebration of Authors tied in with the guest authors/panelists for the special WPL Foundation program.  The photos and books were set off in an eye-catching display arranged by Mora McAvey, Reference Specialist.

Remembering 9/11 included books, DVDs, and a special bookmark and booklist.  (Mora McAvey, Joy Hennig, and Jillian Parsons, Reference Subject Specialists)

Worcester Public Library Building 10th Anniversary Display of the history of the library was worked on by Mora McAvey, other library staff, former library staff, and others, in cooperation with the Board Committee on the Tenth Anniversary.  Thanks from the Reference Department, and also to Joel Wentworth, Buildings Head, for his complementary slide show of the Building History which was part of the program.  What a treat for our staff as well as our patrons!

Uncluttering is the topic of the new booklist prepared by Anna Kung and Jillian Parsons, Reference Subject Specialist Librarians, for the upcoming Winter issue of the WPL Friends Newsletter.

Special Programs with Groups Regularly Scheduled

  • The Friends Film theme for the month of October was Spooks & Spells
  • Great Books Discussion Group meets monthly with Jacqueline Belisle

Branches News

Greendale/Frances Perkins Branch and the Great Brook Valley Branch continue their valued services in their communities.  See Youth Services report.

Internal and External Communication – Some of the organizations networked with this month include the Worcester Women’s History Project, Worcester Writers, the Education Collaborative, the National Organization of Women, the Historical Museum, Lutheran Social Services, the MLS Legislative Breakfast Committee, the MLS Intellectual Freedom Committee, the Worcester Cultural Coalition, and the Tenth Anniversary of the WPL Main Library Building Committee.

At the library, (Adult) Reference Staff serve on various new working committees, including Shelving Committee, Technology Committee, and Programs Committee, Priya Subramanian is on the state Intellectual Freedom Committee.  The e-resources group meets regularly.  E-resources training is ongoing with staff in various departments.

Reference Staff volunteered time for the October 6 Celebration of Authors Event (Veronica Howley, Pingsheng Chen and husband David Brettweiller, Doreen Velnich), and the October 16 Sundae Sunday & Celebration of the Tenth Anniversary of the WPL Main Library Building.  Mora McAvey, Programs Librarian, was a production assistant with A Celebration of Authors and with the Sunday/Anniversary Celebration.

Future Programs

Civil War Series in December includes a talk on Dec. 6 by Reynaldo Rodriques, Secretary of the GAR at 4 pm.

See Genealogy listing above

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