Head Librarian’s Report – November 2011

Technology Services Division

OCLC Reclamation Project
One of the major goals this year is to make sure that the holding in our local catalog are synchronized with our WorldCat holdings.  [WorldCat is the world’s largest network of library content and services, hosted by OCLC (Online Computer Library Center, Inc.)]  As part of the preparation for launching the new Evergreen catalog, our library has been working with C/W MARS and OCLC to send all of our active bibliographic records to OCLC as part of a reclamation project.

By using the OCLC reclamation service, we are able to completely reset our WorldCat holdings information with a single batch job, which will improve our WorldCat holdings accuracy and support effective resource sharing.  It is going to save staff time and effort when performing the interlibrary loan services.  Best of all, the one-time reclamation project is free.

Evergreen Migration
Joan Kuklinski, Executive Director of C/W MARS, notified member libraries on December 5 that Evergreen Migration Timetable has to be changed.  Instead of going live on January 3, the C/W MARS staff recommended a delay to at least mid-February 2012 to a more stable and functional system.  C/W MARS staff are going to come up with new training schedules in light of this delay.

As for our internal staff training, every department designated trainer has been moving along in Evergreen training by utilizing the Computer Lab during the Monday close time.  Every trainee has a hands-on opportunity by logging into III machines via the remote desktop method.

Google Cart
The Library received a total of 128 red book carts free from the Google office in Boston.  Thanks go to Joel and his crew for being a great host when our neighboring libraries picked up their Google carts!  Thanks also go to Sue Groccia in the Circulation Department for her effort in labeling and distributing these carts to various departments and branches.

One City, One Library
A PowerPoint presentation of “One City, One Library” was prepared for the City Manager as one of Mark’s new initiatives.  It’s a collaborative effort between schools and the Library.  We are community based and should be community responsive!  If we work seamlessly with the City and the schools, it will ensure that we are aware of what they are doing and it helps the Library to anticipate their needs in order to provide our expertise and services.

Resources Management Librarian
With Mark’s vision, every new vacant librarian position will now have the public service desk duties and the ALA Core Competencies for Librarianship & Librarian Specializations added to his/her job description.  Furthermore, we began to exercise the group collaboration on interview questions, conduction and discussion on the very first vacant Resources Management Librarian.  We believe that this new approach did allow us to locate one excellent candidate for the Library Board’s Approval.

Circulation Department:

  • The Circulation Department was busy in November educating our patrons on all of the changes to our circulation policies.  Staff are extending grace and patience towards our patrons as we walk them through these changes.  This process is going well and patrons are responding positively.  Our new digital displays have been instrumental in sharing this information with our patrons in a consistent and pleasant way.  Several patrons have expressed pleasure in the new 20 movie limit.  Patrons understand the changes to the fines, including the removal of the $10 maximum fine limit.  Circulation staff will remain helpful to patrons with financial difficulties so they may keep using their City Library.
  • Staff meetings are being held weekly to keep everyone informed of the progress of the AMH process.  Many changes will be coming into the Circulation Department due to the installation of AMH and we are talking about these changes and what some of them may look like.
  • Compared to November of last year, circulation statistics rose for this November.  In FY11 there were 58,722 circulations, but for the November just ended, there were 61,135 circulations.

IT Department

  • It’s digital display month!  IT staff installed 3 digital displays in Circulation Area by using recycled hardware.  Two digital displays outside the Saxe and Banx rooms were also installed.  Instead of using the wired network ports, the wireless method was applied.  All of these displays, including the current large one, are connected to a server which runs open source software called Xibo.  The xml flash technology is used to display images and video promote Library events.  IT also works with Building staff to install a network camera to bring screen images over the computer network and can be displayed easily on any designated computer monitors.
  • Mike and Ming chaired the first TAT (Technology Advisory Team) meeting on November 18.  IT creates a space on Staff Home Page (Intranet) for TAT and other Committees to post their meeting minutes and pertinent documents.
  • Lots of maintenance work on servers this month.  The Sysprep feature on the Altris server was re-configured to capture the contents of system image to re-deploy to other computer hardware for efficiency.  A Key Management Server was installed to activate Windows licenses in-house instead via the Internet with Microsoft.  The purpose is to stay in compliance with our license keys and to avoid running out of our license activations due to huge amount of imaging we do here.  Last but not least, the primary domain controller had a hardware failure, IT staff were able to swap the hard drives to have it back up the same day after a call to Dell.

Knowledge Access and Resources Management Services:

  • Jeremy attended Evergreen meetings on tech services and reporting functions of Evergreen.  He created documentation on cataloging in Evergreen for backroom staff and also served as part of a training session for branch staff.
  • The Evergreen Acquisitions and serials modules are far from functional.  This is one of the reasons that C/W MARS has to postpone the migration process.  As for the Library, Jeremy has worked with three of our vendors to test out the electronic ordering functions within Evergreen training database.  The progress is at a snail’s pace!
  • Both Anne Johnson and Jeremy assisted the e-reader petting zoo workshop held in the Computer Lab, which was organized by the Reference Division.
  • Joan and Jeremy attended Evergreen circulation training held by the Circulation department.
  • Since Evergreen system is not able to accept two unique barcodes for one item, the work has begun on rebarcoding (and occasionally recataloging) all CDs that are secured in the cabinet behind the circulation desk.  Huge thanks to Lisa for her help.

Periodicals Department:

  • iPads in Periodicals were released to the public.  A total of 87 patrons have used these iPads during the month of November.   13 of them filled out the survey form.  Patrons express loud and clear that they love to read T&G and magazines.  They also request to have more apps on these iPads.
  • Jeremy and Joan corrected the volume fields of all circulating magazines to reflect the new C/W MARS standards required by the Evergreen migration.  4,565 items in total.
  • Periodicals staff were trained in Evergreen cataloging.
  • Due to her husband’s relocation, Becky took an early retirement!  Her final day was November 23.  With sixteen years of diligent work in Periodicals department, she will be enormously missed!  Joan, Lisa and Kim start taking turns to work the night shift and Saturdays to cover the Periodicals Desk.

Youth Services Division

November was proclaimed as Family Literacy Month by Governor Patrick.  In addition to Youth Services’ regularly scheduled story times, reading therapy dog visit, and participatory clubs, staff provided outreach to schools and shelters.  Anne supported Community Reading Day at Worcester Arts Magnet by reading Lousy Rotten StinkinGrapes to a kindergarten class, represented the library at Literacy Night at Union Hill School, and introduced the library’s e-book database, TumbleBook Library/TumbleReadables, to day-care providers and parents served by Children’s Services of Roxbury.  Iris visited five family shelters with a team coordinated by Worcester Public Schools’ Office of Child Study.

Youth Services celebrated American Library Association’s National Game Day for the first time.  On November 12, Fowzia organized and supervised a day of fun for children and teens including video game competitions, video game free play, chess tournament, and introduction to additional board games, both old and new.

YA Librarian, Rezarta Tupja, hosted the library’s 2nd Teen Anime Festival.  Anime Wings put on a day of viewing anime, manga cooking and crafts, costume contests, and more.  A fabulous anime trivia contest created by volunteer Anime Wings leader, Tracy Dankwah, was enjoyed by participants at the end of a day of fun.

Anne and Iris attended the first meeting of Worcester community members interested in acting upon the recommendations found in Creating the Will, Mayor Joe O’Brien’s report on improving Latino education in Worcester.

November was a busy month for Iris.  In addition to her visits to family shelters, Iris was the guest speaker for students at South High School and Sullivan Middle School.  On November 16, she shared her journey to becoming the first Latina librarian at Worcester Public Library.

Reference Department

Featured Service: Technology Petting Zoo and More
‘Tis the season to buy e-books and WPL is responding to this interest by offering to patrons the opportunity to have hands-on experiences with technological gadgets.

The E-Book Reader Lending Pilot Program, centrally featured on the library website, is gaining sign ups daily.  About 40 people are on the current wait list for the 4 Nooks and the 4 Kindles.  This program gives patrons a chance to use an e-reader loaded with popular fiction and non-fiction titles for up to two weeks.  The response has been overwhelmingly positive.  This service gives everyone in the family the chance to have a firsthand experience with an e-reader device and to decide if it is for them.  Some patrons do not want to make the investment in an e-reader but welcome the chance to borrow.  Others are trying to decide what to buy.  And those not interested in regular use, have welcomed it for travel and appreciate the chance to be “in the know.”

The Technology Petting Zoo is a program that gives patrons a chance to visit the library at lunch time to get up close and personal with some of the latest gadgets.  The Nook, the Kindle, Kindle Fire, iPad, and iPhone are available in one room for perusal and librarians are available to help the patrons get comfortable with the technology.  Librarians from other libraries, staff from our own library, and members of the public have enjoyed this experience.

For patrons who own their own eReaders or computers, there are free downloadable audio books and eBooks available from the WPL website.  There is a lot of explanation of the how-to on the website.  But, for anyone who wants one-on-one assistance, Ping Chen will meet with them at the Ref Desk on Wednesday evening, or will assist by appointment.  She will offer phone help when warranted.  And when Library eReaders are borrowed, several staff are trained to offer an introduction to the specific device so that a patron can borrow with confidence.

Again, thanks to the Friends of the WPL for their support for the purchase of titles for the eBook readers.  And to the Library staff who have participated by learning the technology, helping the patrons to know about the programs and assisting with them, and helping the patrons to check-in and check-out the devices.

Genealogy Programs with Joy Hennig, Local History and Genealogy Librarian

November 3 – Assistance to class from alternative high school on resources pertaining to the American Revolution
November 10 – See above, computer resources in Lab
November 15 – It’s All Relative program at Senior Center
November 17 – Tracking Your Family through the US Census at WPL


A Grants Workshop was presented for 24 Clark University students by Mora McAvey, Foundation Center Librarian.

Another Grants Session was given for Worcester State University by Mora McAvey.  A program is also planned for January.

The Swift River dramatic presentation was held on Sunday, December 4.  (Mora McAvey, Programs and Outreach Librarian)

Civil War 150th Anniversary Commemorative.  This monthly series continues with movies and discussion.  Gone with the Wind was featured.  A professional led discussion from a member of the GAR went along with this series.  (Mora McAvey, Programs Librarian)

Special Events!

The Massachusetts Friends of Libraries and the Massachusetts Library Trustees Association hosted their 16th Annual Conference on Saturday, November 5.  Pingsheng Chen presented at a session on Implementing eBooks In Your Library.  (Pingsheng Chen is the WPL E-resources Librarian).

Joy Hennig and Mora McAvey attended the Blackstone Canal Walking Tour unveiling event as the WPL representatives.  WPL reference staff over a period of years have contributed research, enthusiasm, and support for this project and received major credit for their contributions.  Many thanks to our capable staff and subject specialists.


Mora McAvey hosted the Worcester Cultural Coalition PAC meeting at WPL on November 30.

Six staff members attended the Massachusetts Library System Annual Meeting.

Regularly Scheduled Programs and Services

  • Resume Help with Dr. Terry Chapman on Tuesday morning
  • Computer Basics with Jillian Parsons and Veronica Howley, Reference Subject Specialists, on Tuesday morning
  • Computer Help Sessions by Appointment (resume help, computer skills, etc.) with Mary Cocorochio and Priya Subramanaian, Reference Subject Specialists, on Thursday morning
  • One-on-One Research Help Sessions – with Bill Sweeney, Reference Subject Specialist, on Wednesday evening
  • Digital Downloads Help – with Pingsheng Chen, E-Resources & Training Librarian, on Wednesday evening and by appointment
  • NEW! Technology Petting Zoo – with Pingsheng Chen & e-resources librarians, on various weekdays at noon
  • What’s Up in Docs – monthly newsletter featuring government docs info and trivia.  Paul Pelletier, Government Documents Librarian.
  • Worcester Writers meets to continue the project of documenting local literary history.  Joy Hennig and the Project Committee
  • Tours for ESL and ABE classes are conducted regularly
  • Special Mention as an FYI: the Great Books Discussion Group continues to meet monthly with Jacqueline Belisle on the first Wednesday of each month at 7:00

 Special Exhibits and Promotional Items

Home for the Holidays:  a display of cookbooks on the first floor for December.  Selections from our extensive cookbook collection housed on the second floor – Veronica Howley, Subject Specialist Librarian.  Sign created by Frank Sestokas.


Some of the organizations contacted this month include the Worcester Free School, the Worcester Chamber of Commerce, the NAACP, Worcester T&G, Cinema 320 at Clark University, New England Genealogical Society, Gale Free Library in Holden, Old Sturbridge Village, Center for Non-Violent Solutions, Worcester Writers, Education Collaborative, American Services Org., MLS Legislative Breakfast Committee, the MLS Intellectual Freedom Committee, the Worcester Cultural Coalition, the Congregational Church in Shrewsbury, the Ecotarium, the Trustees Section of the Massachusetts Library System, Quinsigamond Community College, Assumption College, the Worcester Women’s History Project.

Future Programs

Civil War Discussion.  Tuesday, December 6, 4:00.  To commemorate the American Civil War’s 150th anniversary, Reynolds Rodriguez, Secretary, Grand Army of the Republic, Memorial Hall Board of Trustees, leads a discussion of the film show in this series including Andersonville, Cold Mountain, and Gone with the Wind.

Crossing the Pond: Finding Your European Immigrant Ancestors Through Ships’ Passenger Lists and Naturalization Records.  Thursday, December 15.  Joy Hennig, Local History and Genealogy Librarian.

Using the Family History Library and FamilySearch.org on January 12.  Joy Hennig.

Finding Your New England Yankee Ancestors, February 21.  Joy Hennig.

The Narnia Code: Overview and Discussion.  Saturday, January 21, 9:30-11:30.  Stan Bohall, a C. S. Lewis specialist, provides an overview and facilitates a discussion of the key themes in Michael Ward’s book and DVD, The Narnia Code.

Grants Workshop.  Non-profit looking for private grant money?  New to the world of fundraising?  Want to learn more about the Grants Resources at WPL?  The Library is offering a Free Introductory Workshop on Grant Seeking.  Thursday, December 8.  Mora McAvey, Grants and Foundation Center Librarian.

Local author Judge Queenan will be featured in a program on Wednesday, December 14.

Branch News

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

Thanks to Jeremy Goldstein, GBV and FPBL staff received serials training in the Evergreen system.

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