Category Archives: library

Graphic Novel Collection Development

Art isn’t one of the disciplines I collect for where I work. But, Graphic Novels have always been one of my interests. I have been researching what goes into making a Graphic Novel collection for quite some time, albeit on a casual level.

from Scott McCloud’s excellent book Understanding Comics

When I came to my current place of work there were hardly any graphic novels in the collection, and none of what I would consider to be the required titles that any library should have. I’ve kept this in mind over the years and have watched for opportunities to arise where I could help make some changes.

My library subscribes to a book loan program of popular titles that allows us to bring in current titles and let our users check them out. If we determine that we would like to add them to our collection then we can pay a small fee to keep them. As one of the librarians here I help select the books that they will send us. I have been carefully selecting from the catalog they send us monthly Graphic Novels that I believe would be good for the collection. I have also been talking with students and art faculty about what they would like us to have in our collection.

To prepare for the day when I would find an opportunity to purchase graphic novels for the library I have been compiling lists and soliciting suggestions also from Social Networking sites such as Google+ and Friendfeed. The initial list I had of top titles was a great starting point for my latest discussion with an Art faculty member who will be teaching a class next year featuring Graphic Novels.

We met and she indicated from this list which titles she would like us to purchase, and also sketched out a plan for what kind of titles  would best cover a range of topics she would be focusing on in the class. This turned out to mean focusing on characters from underrepresented populations such as African-American women and Native Americans.

When I went to put together the list I first turned to the LSW friendfeed room for inspiration. ( There I found several members who were more than willing to help me with suggestions they were personally familiar with. I spent time looking for reviews of the titles and then compiling a list within Books In Print

She also needed some representative Manga issues to highlight how other cultures tell stories with Art. For a list of some sample issues I turned to a list I have on Google+ called library. There I found several helpful librarians who helped me put together a list of some of the best examples of the style.

I am really excited about adding these to the collection and seeing the students from this class and others use them. I love that there are so many people out there willing to help share their knowledge.


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Library Donations Workflow revisited

I work at a small library where I have had the privilege of being the interim director for the last 8 months. Which means that I have had the opportunity to modify some of the existing workflows.

One of these “modifications” was of the book donation workflow which I altered in conjunction with the cataloging librarian.

Originally we would take in books from different sources and determine if the books should be added to our collection. If not then they would be put out on a cart at the front of the library as a book sale for a few weeks every so often. These books would all be priced at .50

Some of these books would be snatched up very quickly, while others would languish and eventually we would box them up and send them to Better World Books  (BWB) Which is a pretty good workflow in the sense that we make a little money to go towards purchasing other books for our collection, and we don’t have to recycle the ones that are leftover.

As of last semester we had been making a little bit of money from the in house sale, but not very much as you might imagine. BWB had not sold enough of our books yet to reach the threshold at which they would write us a check. I believe this is because our in house users were buying all the books that could have been sold by BWB more easily.

I had prior experience selling my own books through Amazon, and I thought it was a relatively easy process so I suggested that we try doing it ourselves on a trial basis. The new workflow looks like this

  1. Books Donated (but not added to our collection) or Discarded
  2. Books Checked by students against Amazon’s Database to see if they are being sold for more than $5
  3. If they were then they would go in a pile to be entered into our Seller Account’s inventory
    1. I only list a book if it is not being sold for less than $5
    2. After I enter a number of books on a given day I will go through the inventory and make sure that our books are priced at least .10 less than anyone else’s
    3. If the book falls below $3 I’ll remove the listing and send it to the in house book sale
  4. Otherwise they would go straight into the book sale and then on to BWB as before

That is the basic workflow and the one that I worked on with the Cataloging librarian. It is pretty straight forward and easy to follow.

I started entering books in to Amazon and quickly discovered that the information on the slips in the books from students (that I had asked for) wasn’t actually useful. I had asked them to print on an old catalog card the lowest price, the general condition of the book, the seller’s rank, and I had them color code it by the range it was in the Amazon Seller’s index (by the Millions).

I pretty quickly found out that this information wasn’t actually useful when trying to put the books up for sale. I more often than not couldn’t find the same entry the student was referencing, and the seller’s index wasn’t providing a terribly good indicator of whether it would be sold. It turned out to be much easier to put everything online and take books off if they haven’t sold within a predetermined amount of time. So instead I was able to figure out which chunk of code in the URL was persistent and started having them write that down.

Pretty soon after I started putting books up for sale we actually sold the first book. This was exciting because I could actually show my coworkers that we were receiving a good price for the book (more than .50) and that there were people out there who wanted these books. I realized that we needed to receive the money so I had to figure out where the money could go, and then be transferred back to us. We don’t have our own checking account, and that is the only way that Amazon will send you money (trust me I have checked). Campus finance was able to work with us and we were able to have Amazon send the money to them, and then we would send Finance a monthly email detailing how much money should be sent to which account (postal fees, revolving collection fund). As long as we don’t mind the wait then this setup works out fine.

For the future:

Now that I have a good setup for how to wrap the books up to be shipped I need to transfer that responsibility to a student. I’ll consult with the cataloging librarian and determine which of the students



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A Case for Universal Borrowing

I was using the redbox app on my android phone this weekend to lookup available movies in different boxes across town so I could go directly to the box I needed to and pick up the movie I wanted.

I narrowed it down to two movies, and then used rotten tomatoes to decide on which one to rent. No more lurking at the box scrolling through a list of movies while the next person anxiously waits for you to pick a movie and go.

Many libraries have movies and check out popular titles to patrons for free (yes I know it is not really free…we pay taxes etc…), but the $1.07 is worth it for many reasons.

1. Open 24 hours (not many libraries can compete with that)
2. One step process to access a complete list of (available) movies
3. Universal borrowing (all you need is a credit card to rent a movie. No application necessary)

Most libraries cannot stay open 24 hours a day. So… no way to compete there.

Libraries could simplify the way to get to a list of movies, but it would still involve finding the local library web page etc…

But…The biggest obstacle is that you need a library card to check out movies, and a lot of *my* movie browsing/renting is done on the go when I am traveling. Even if I found a movie at an open library that I wanted to watch it would still mean needing a library card to check it out. Getting a library card is not an easy process, and might be impossible if you don’t live in the area.

I remember in my previous hometown (Gainesville, FL) you had to physically bring in your ID and mail (real mail) you had received from a utility showing that you actually lived in the area and could be tracked down if necessary. This gets harder and harder to do as mail is delivered electronically in an increasing number of circumstances.

I know a number of companies have floated the idea of a single library card that could be used in multiple locations across the country but, I haven’t heard a good explanation of how this would work and who it would work for.

To prevent it from being dependent upon the Integrated Library System (ILS) that a particular library uses I think there should be a standard developed outside of that space that could fit on top of it. Then all the different ILS vendors could develop ways to integrate it into their own products. The incentive to do so would be an increase in patron activity and excitement to use libraries.

All a potential library user would need to do is sign in with a credit card, enter their email address, and check a box indicating they have read/understood a EULA, and they would be on their way. People who do not have access to a credit card could sign up in an alternate fashion at a local branch.

This is not a post advocating that libraries should develop active popular movie collections. Instead I am just trying to make a case for facilitating potential patron use, and advocating a simplified way to get more people to use the library

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using a friendfeed widget to embed an rss feed into your website

To create an embeddable RSS feed for your website using friendfeed’s widget’s

1. Create a group (standard, not private)
2. Name the group and import the RSS feed
3. Create an embedding widget for that feed. (
4. Copy code and insert it into your website

Here it is:

View my FriendFeed

*Thanks to Barbara Fister for the idea 😉

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LIS events: The Library-Community Conferences and Events Site

The best library related event coordination site ever!

Find events: (Who, Where, When)

List events

Find a professional to speak at your event

Get Listed as a professional speaker to offer your services

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Libguide Training Followup

Here is a brief description of the Libguides Training I gave today at work. Documenting the steps I took so Librarians can complete their assignment by the next time we meet in two weeks. (Update Profile, and make a Guide)

Go to Libguides Page

Click on ‘Admin Sign in’ and login

1. Update your profile

-click on link: Customize Your Profile
-add:name, email, phone #, Subject Specialities
-upload profile picture

2. Create New Guide

-click on link: Create New Guide
-choose option “Use an existing guide as a template”
-type in Nursing to search and wait for area to be populated by ‘Nursing Guide’ and SELECT

-Enter information in Guide Settings Area: Guide Title, Description “A guide to XXXXX Resources at Barton College”
-Click on Button:Create New Guide

As discussed earlier we are going to use the Nursing guide as a template because it contains an agreed upon structure that will serve as a template.

It also contains concrete examples for each page which can be easily modified in most cases

We decided to make each other editors on our own Guides. To do this click on Guide Settings in the command bar at the very top of the page.
Choose the selection: ‘Co-owners, Editors, and Collaborators’. In the popup it is easy to add Editors for the Guide.

Here is a list of the Pages/Tabs we are going to use, they mirror the tabs used currently on our library’s homepage:
-Articles Plus
-Books & More
-Journal Info
-Other Resources

Examples of how to modify content boxes:
*For the Quick Search box on the Articles Plus Page/Tab
-Navigate to your subject’s current databases page and right click the webpage choosing “View Page Source”
-Find code for Ebsco Search Box and Copy it
-On Libguide Find box and click on “edit text” (at the bottom of the box)
-This is a ‘RichText/Dynamic Content.Scripts’ box so choose the ‘Tab Plain-Text Editor’
-Select All and Paste Code in Clipboard
-Click: Save and Close

*Spotlight on Books box on Books and More Page/Tab
-Delete the books currently there by clicking on the wrench screwdriver cross icon next to each book
-Click Link:Add New Book
-Enter book information from Catalog:Title, Author, ISBN, Catalog URL, Cover Art, Description
-Click Button: Save Book

*RSS feeds on Journal Info Page/Tab
-Find an RSS feed of Current Issues or ToC from a relevant journal and copy it
-change Title of Box by clicking on edit link on the top of the RSS content box
-Click on Edit RSS feed link at the bottom
-Paste RSS feed in Clipboard

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Say No to suspicious links

I picked up a copy of Wired’s latest magazine and glanced at it quickly while waiting for my computer profile to load.

The current issue focuses on the Computer Underworld. There was a section in it highlighting past exploits that have infected user’s machines.
Wired Magazine Feb 2011

One of these was the Bugat virus which infected many user’s computers when they received an email allegedly from LinkedIn asking them to login and update their account.

This got me to thinking.
54/365 office

Social networking sites should stop providing links in their emails, or at least provide some way to opt out. I could request that sites like Facebook stop sending me notifications, but I would like to know when something has happened requiring my attention.

So, just like I won’t commit to anything over a phonecall initiated by a company, I’m not going to click on a link within an email from a company.

Sorry, I just don’t trust you

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